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November 2, 2009

A SCOTUS week for criminal justice fans who like fed courts issues

As detailed in posts here and here from SCOTUSblog, the Supreme Court is not involved in many criminal justice issues that are likely to make huge headlines this week.  (The big SCOTUS headlines will be next week when the Court hears argument in the two juve LWOP cases of Graham and Sullivan.)  As these likes from SCOTUSblog spotlight, however, the Court is hearing argument in three cases this week that should be of great interesting to hard-core habeas and fed courts fans:

Mon., Nov. 2:

Beard v. Kindler (08-992) – enforcement of state procedural rule in federal habeas

Wed., Nov. 4:

Pottawattamie County v. McGhee (08-1065) – liability of prosecutors for arranging false testimony

Wood v. Allen (08-9156) – scope of federal court review of facts in state criminal proceeding

I suspect the Pottawattamie County will garner the most attention because it deals with the issue of wrongful convictions and prosecutorial misconduct.  But, as is often the reality, the case that gets the most media attention probably is not the one likely to have the most day-to-day impact on the operation of modern criminal justice systems.

November 2, 2009 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

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Comments

If the Court allows prosecutorial liability, I suspect, that will be a day to day consideration and not a collateral one. The rate of innocence is likely to be higher in plea deals and in ordinary trials than in the death penalty. It is roughly 20% there.

The best situation for the prosecutor would be to improve performance motivated by the liability to legal malpractice claims by the adverse third party. The prosecutor should be protected from frivolous or retaliatory claims by requiring a certificate of merit and bond for legal fees from plaintiffs, including pro se litigants. The judge of the case would be the one to declare a claim frivolous or retaliatory. The filing of such should itself be subject to a legal malpractice claim against the plaintiff lawyer by the innocent prosecutor. To deter.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 2, 2009 4:49:56 PM

horse hockey! IF anyone can prove any individual doesn't matter WHO they work for lied or covered up the lies of someone else THEY ARE CRIMINALLY LIABLE PERIOD!

Posted by: rodsmith3510 | Nov 3, 2009 1:40:15 PM

rod, the problem, of course, is the coercive proceedings required to get to the "they lied" conclusion.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 3, 2009 2:41:50 PM


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