March 8, 2010
Another criminal defendant win produces another notable SCOTUS alignment
As detailed here at SCOTUSblog, the Supreme Court issued two opinions and granted certain on three new cases this morning, but it is not obvious that this activity includes much for sentencing fans to get to excited about. That said, there was a criminal justice ruling today in the issued opinion, and here is how Lyle Denniston reports the event:
Bloate v. United States (08-728), in which the lower court is reversed and remanded. Justice Thomas writes for the Court, with a vote of 7-2. Justice Ginsburg joins the opinion but files a separate concurrence. Justice Alito dissents, joined by Justice Breyer. The time granted to prepare pretrial motions is not automatically excluded from the 70-day limit under the Speedy Trial Act of 1974. The opinion is here.
Because I do not keep up on speedy trial law, I am not sure if Bloate is a big deal on the merits. I am sure that it is notable and interesting that Justice Thomas is the author of a ruling that is a win for a criminal defendant, and that only Justices Alito and Breyer are drawn to the pro-government ruling of the Eighth Circuit that gets reversed in this case.
March 8, 2010 at 10:27 AM | Permalink
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It's no surprise that Alito was "drawn to the pro-government ruling." I bet you could count on one hand the number of times Alito has sided with a defendant's argument. I don't think it's a stretch at all to say he is the most pro-government Justice on the current Court.
Regarding the impact of the holding, it's likely minor. When a district court grants a continuance in order to allow more time for the filing of pretrial motions, all the court has to do is "enter appropriate findings under subsection (h)(7)." (Slip Op. at 7). This should (in most situations) be a fairly easy task, and doing so will exclude the additional preparation time from Speedy Trial calculation.
Posted by: DEJ | Mar 8, 2010 1:04:20 PM
Does this mean that this guy gets off, the charges are dropped and he walks..??
Posted by: Goodyr | Mar 8, 2010 2:00:44 PM
"I am sure that it is notable and interesting that Justice Thomas is the author of a ruling that is a win for a criminal defendant . . .. "
Not if you look at it as a statutory interpretation case.
Posted by: federalist | Mar 8, 2010 3:02:45 PM
What DEJ says. Justice Alito is the most resulted-oriented of the 9 on the bench today.
Posted by: lawyer | Mar 8, 2010 3:37:59 PM