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April 17, 2006

SCOTUS taking another capital quirky case

Regular readers know I kvetch a lot about the excessive energy that the Supreme Court and others devote to death penalty (and other "small impact") cases when there are so many other sentencing issues that ought to garner attention (consider, for example, posts here and here and here and here).  But it is hard to get off this topic when I learn, as detailed by SCOTUSblog here, that the Supreme Court on Monday announced it will give its very limited time and docket to Carey v. Musladin (05-785) to address the far-reaching and critically important question of "whether it is unconstitutional for a judge in a criminal trial to allow family members of a murder victim to wear buttons depicting the victim, when they are spectators in the courtroom."

[CORRECTION:  This in-the-know commentor indicates that Musladin is not a capital case and reasonably suggests that this cert. grant serves as a judicial recognition of recent victim rights' concerns.  Such good points reminds me why I am so thankful for the comments of thoughtful readers.]

Of course, as Orin Kerr details here, this case has already garnered a lot of judicial attention and covers all the usual cert-worthy bases.  But stepping back from the doctrinal particular, and especially reflecting on the on-going national mess the Supreme Court has helped produced concerning lethal injection protocols, I continue to be greatly troubled by how the Court sets its criminal justice agenda.

Some related prior posts about the cert process:

UPDATE: Articles discussing the Musladin case are now available from the Los Angeles Times here and the New York Times here.

April 17, 2006 at 04:50 PM | Permalink


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Supervising DAG, California

This is not a capital case. The cert grant here is not very surprising given the recent federal statutes regarding victims and the Congressional interest in the role of victims in habeas proceedings.

Posted by: ward | Apr 17, 2006 5:06:50 PM

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