March 23, 2006

A Gentle Note to the Supremes

by Armen

While the Court has been busy reshaping Federal and state cimrinal procedure in the last few years (see, e.g., Crawford and Booker), the changes have caused havoc in the lower courts. Havoc not in the sense of confusion (though Booker has brought a fair degree of that too) but more in the sense of a flood of claims under 2254 and 2255.
Thus the lower courts have to decide whether the SCOTUS meant to enact a watershed rule of criminal procedure under a Teague analysis.

Things would be a lot easier if there was dictum somewhere stating what the Court considers its new holding to be. Is that so hard to do? Maybe even a footnote. "Although we are kinda dramatically altering the sentencing guidelines, this isn't watershed yo."

It should be noted though that to date I have not seen a single Circuit or District Court find the Booker and Crawford rules applicable on collateral review. So I guess these issues have a funny way of working out, but I'd sure hate to be the first judge to decide. The reason I even mention this issue is because it's a tad disheartening to see a Court of Appeals still dealing with Crawford when the Supremes could have dealt with it by the stroke of a pen. (HT: Another Bashman in the wall).

On a sidenote: I will try to look for legal issues in Central Europe. Who knows, maybe I'll figure out what the circle with an X through it means.

March 23, 2006 02:42 PM | TrackBack
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