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April 16, 2007

The really big SCOTUS capital case this week

Because the issue involves a somewhat crazy issue about a possibly crazy killer, the Panetti case to be argued before the Supreme Court on Wednesday is getting significant media attention.  (See my prior post here along with more recent coverage from the AP, from the Houston Chronicle, and from the San Antonio Express.)  However, a capital case to be argued before SCOTUS tomorrow, Uttecht v. Brown, is a case which surely will have much greater impact on the administration of capital punishment and on the review of death sentences in federal courts.

Lyle Denniston provides over at SCOTUSblog has this helpful oral argument preview of Uttecht.  Here is how it begins:

A single jury panel member named Richard Deal, excluded from serving in a gruesome murder case that went to trial 14 years ago in Washington State, is at the center of a potentially historic case on jury selection in death penalty cases due for argument at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The case of Uttecht v. Brown (06-413) puts before the Court a mixture of issues about federal court authority to review jury selection in state criminal courts, about the ease with which judges may bar jurors with reservations about the death penalty, and about how to apply a key Supreme Court precedent on capital trials (Wainwright v. Witt, 1985). It also involves the ongoing conflict between the Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court over how rigorously to read the habeas-curbing provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

April 16, 2007 at 09:32 PM | Permalink


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Here are some notes on the argument:


Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Apr 17, 2007 7:14:27 PM

With respect to Panetti, and this is a serious question, if courts have found that he is to a certain degree feigning his psychological problems, why is he at all allowed to be heard in the Supreme Court? Habeas corpus should not be granted to litigants that game the system. Period.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 17, 2007 9:43:01 PM

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