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April 8, 2010

Notable comment on sentencing from Chief Justice of the United States

Tony Mauro in this post at The BLT has this remarkable sentencing-significant snippet from Chief Justice Roberts' comments yesterday when speaking to a law school crowd in Indiana (my emphasis added):

Trial judging:  Asked by a trial judge in the audience if he would consider presiding over a trial in federal court, Roberts said flatly, but with a smile, "I wouldn't do it in a million years."  Roberts explained that his predecessor William Rehnquist once presided over a trial in Virginia while a justice, only to have the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit reverse him in an unsigned opinion.  Roberts added that from his appellate experience with sentencing issues and mandatory minimum sentences, he would find sentencing in a criminal case particularly distasteful.  "I wouldn't like doing it," he said with a frown.

April 8, 2010 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I can't put my finger on why, but I find this rather troubling.

Posted by: MJG | Apr 8, 2010 12:03:17 PM

Welcome to the Supreme Court. They decide campaign finance cases, yet none of them has ever run for office. They decide criminal sentencing cases, yet none of them up until Sotomayor had seen a criminal trial outside of Law and Order.

And yet Presidents continue to appoint Ivy League appellate judges. Small wonder that so many opinions bear little resemblance to reality.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Apr 8, 2010 12:26:08 PM

Perhaps he'd just read Judge Gleeson's Vasquez opinion.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Apr 8, 2010 1:17:47 PM

CJ Rehnquist also presided over a second trial, in that other big building on First Street.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Apr 8, 2010 2:02:27 PM

personally i think someting like this is ILLEGAL!

"William Rehnquist once presided over a trial in Virginia while a justice, only to have the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit reverse him in an unsigned opinion."

IF it's UNSIGNED just how is it possible LEGAL.

long past time we ban that bit of criminal stupidity and require any opinion be published no later then 90 days AFTER end of the trial it covers.

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 9, 2010 2:39:58 AM

Can someone tell me or us (the bloggers) who on the Supreme Court has represented a criminal defendant in a jury trial which went to jury verdict. I am thinking none.

Posted by: mpb | Apr 10, 2010 12:06:31 AM

None. They all think is 'dirty.' Just us trial attorneys know the 'ins' and 'outs' of being in front of 'exasperated' judges and delusional US Attorneys. None. It's intimidating at times!

Posted by: Christian De Olivas | Apr 10, 2010 9:42:24 AM

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