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April 16, 2006

A criminal closing act for SCOTUS

Folks interested in a range of criminal justice issues should be getting excited about the last set of Supreme Court oral arguments this Term.  As detailed in this SCOTUS argument calender, more than half of the oral arguments scheduled for the next two weeks involve criminal cases.  (Also, I suspect we might see some criminal case opinions issued over the next few weeks as well.)

The sessions starts with arguments Monday in Washington v. Recuenco (No. 05-83) exploring whether Blakely errors can be subject to harmless-error analysis or instead are structural errors.  I have here described Recuenco as a big little Blakely case, and my numerous prior posts about the case are assembled in this archive.

On a related theme, Tuesday brings oral argument in United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez (No. 05-352) exploring whether the denial of a criminal defendant's right to counsel of choice requires automatic reversal on appeal.  SCOTUSblog here has a good review of the Gonzalez-Lopez basics, and Tony Mauro also has a great discussion of the case in Legal Times available here.

Also on tap for the next two weeks is the re-argument in the capital case of Kansas v. Marsh (some background here and here and here) and oral argument in the lethal injection case of Hill v. McDonough (some background here and here).  And, another pair of cases will be exploring interesting issues relating to the traditional criminal law defenses of duress and insanity.

UPDATE:  Thanks to How Appealing, I can note this detailed AP article about the insanity issue to be before the Supreme Court this Wednesday in the case of Clark v. Arizona.

April 16, 2006 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

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