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December 4, 2017

Two Justices make statement about Alabama capital case in which cert is denied

There was not too much of note in today's order list from the Supreme Court, though sentencing fans might be intrigued by Justice Sotomayor's short statement, joined by Justice Breyer, regarding the denial of certiorari in Floyd v. Alabama. Here is how the statement starts and ends:

Petitioner Christopher Floyd was sentenced to death by an Alabama jury that was selected in a manner that raises serious concerns under our precedent in Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), J.E.B. v. Alabama ex rel. T.B., 511 U.S. 127 (1994), and Foster v. Chatman, 578 U.S. ___ (2016).  Although the unique context of Floyd’s case counsels against review by this Court, I find the underlying facts sufficiently troubling to note that in the ordinary course, facts like these likely would warrant a court’s intervention....

That we have not granted certiorari should not be construed as complacence or an affirmance of all of the reasoning of the courts below.  The unusual posture in which Floyd raised his Batson and J.E.B. claims warrants caution in the exercise of the Court’s review here.  Yet, courts reviewing claims in circumstances like these must be steadfast in identifying, investigating, and correcting for improper bias in the jury selection process.  Such discrimination “‘casts doubt on the integrity of the judicial process,’ and places the fairness of a criminal proceeding in doubt.” Powers v. Ohio, 499 U. S. 400, 411 (1991) (citation omitted).

December 4, 2017 at 01:43 PM | Permalink


Appeals are only for mistakes of law, not of fact. The reasoning is that the original court, the trier of fact, had the competence to assess the evidence.

This philosophy is nowhere in the constitution. It turns the appeal into a nitpicking of irrelevant and pointless mistakes. These are literally infinite and limited only by the creativity of the appellate lawyer. They can make things up, and persuade other nitpickers on the bench of their correctness. They can keep this process going into infinity, along with make work. Once done with violations of federal rules, they can start on ratified treaties, then on international laws to which we have agreed.

This is very 13th Century, and very French. In that time, any defense lawyer who allowed his case to reach substance felt utterly humiliated. It is also very fraudulent, and a form of theft of tax dollars. It brings opprobrium on the justice system, and makes the owners of the law, the public, hate you lawyers.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 4, 2017 1:59:18 PM

¿ What about Writs of Error Corum Bob is?

Posted by: Docile the Kind Soul in Oregon | Dec 6, 2017 4:07:23 AM

Meh^100 Coram Vobis

Posted by: Docile the Kind Soul in Oregon | Dec 6, 2017 4:09:45 AM

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