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October 27, 2005

A state perspective on harmless error

As discussed in a series of recent posts (here and here and here), the US Supreme Court has granted cert in Washington v. Recuenco (docket 05-83) in order to explore whether Blakely errors can be subject to harmless-error analysis. In an interesting article in the New Jersey Law Journal, Steven Sanders relies on the New Jersey Supreme Court's handling of Blakely issues to argue that, even if federal constitutional law is interpreted to permit Blakely errors to be subject to harmless-error analysis, state courts can still as a matter of state law hold that such errors require automatic reversals.  Here is part of the article's introduction:

Relying on basic federalism principles, this article explains why state courts are not obligated to obey a federal law of remedies in adjudicating federal constitutional violations and why state courts have every right, as a matter of state law, to remedy a federal constitutional violation that a federal court would find harmless.

Download sanders_njlj_on_errors.pdf

October 27, 2005 at 07:10 AM | Permalink

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