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Supreme Court Monday

Click the below link for the latest happenings in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Court Refuses to Disturb 30-Year State Sentence for Teenage Murderer

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to review a 30-year state prison sentence for a South Carolina teen who was 12 years old when he engaged in premeditated murder of his grandparents.

That decision unquestionably will get under the skin of liberal law students, liberal law professors and other poseurs. It should warm the hearts, however, of conservatives and other Federalism/states' rights advocates.

Here's a link to the AP's version of events.

* * *
Speaking of Federalism and states' rights:

Court to Hear Oral Arguments on Death Penalty for Child Rape

The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear oral arguments on whether a state can impose the death penalty for the rape of a child, or whether that would be proscribed as cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

To me the answer to that question is obvious:

Barring a clear and direct violation of a primary and unambiguous right under the federal Constitution, sovereign states should have carte blanche to administer their own criminal justice systems with whatever punishments their people and their elected representative see fit. Capital punishment under state law for child rape is well within the purview of what should be deemed constitutional under federal law.

Besides, that case brings up what for 15 years I've referred to as the "U.C. Berkeley" standard. If you're not sure what to think about a particular Supreme Court dispute ask yourself what a law professor at U.C. Berkeley would do about it. The opposite of that is correct.

Here's a link to the AP's agenda-driven report.

* * *
Court Will Hear Prosecutorial Immunity Case

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether a man who served 24 years in prison before his murder conviction was overturned can sue a former Los Angeles County district attorney and a top deputy prosecutor for wrongful conviction.

The result in that case is easy to predict. The leftist 9th Circuit voted to allow that lawsuit to proceed. Which means, ipso facto, the SCOTUS is quite likely to reverse and to throw the former prisoner's case out of court.

Here's a link to the AP's version of events.


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Comments (8)

If a cop goes bad the court... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

If a cop goes bad the courts throw the book at them. How is it then that prosecutors who knowingly manufacture false evidence, and do so systematically, get a pass? If I was the supreme chief grand master Ayatollah then Van de Kamp and Livesay would be under investigation and likely facing criminal charges if they manufactured evidence. The public places great trust in prosecutors and gives them tremendous power in the cause of justice. Any daring to violate that trust should spend many years behind bars.

MacLorry, I think you are e... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

MacLorry, I think you are exaggerating the allegations against Van de Kamp almost to slander.

Prosecutorial immunity does extend to things that are not criminal acts of the dimension you ascribe, because no one in their right mind would take a job where you could be sued for negligence for imprisoning someone if a jury happened to later to decide that they might be innocent.

SPQR,Reading the l... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

SPQR,

Reading the link one sees that it's Goldstein who's making the accusation that Van de Kamp and Livesay had a policy of relying on jailhouse informants even though it sometimes led to false evidence. One aspect of Goldstein's proof is that Fink testified in more than 10 cases that people confessed crimes to him while sharing a jail cell. Who do you think arranged for Fink (that's his name) to be in the cell with unconvicted defendants? Defendants the prosecutor likely didn't have enough evidence to convict. If true that 's probable cause to investigate and that's what I would institute if it were in my power. If that investigation uncovered evidence that Van de Kamp and Livesay had anything to do with manufacturing evidence, then, and only then, they would face criminal charges. There's nothing slenderest in my statements.

Prosecutorial immunity does extend to things that are not criminal acts of the dimension you ascribe, because no one in their right mind would take a job where you could be sued for negligence for imprisoning someone if a jury happened to later to decide that they might be innocent.

And I never relied on such evidence as you suggest, but rather on the accusations Goldstein brings. How can a court sweep that under the rug and retain any semblance of honor? If there's probable cause the justice department should investigate. Bringing a suite is the only legal avenue individuals have of redressing such injustice. What would you have them do, take matters into their own hands?

What I find repugnant is a society that gives certain individuals great power to further the cause of justice and then winks at those few who abuse that power, as if tolerance of their crimes was somehow a necessary evil. Be Careful that's not what you're promoting.

"If you're not sure what to... (Below threshold)
COgirl:

"If you're not sure what to think about a particular Supreme Court dispute ask yourself what a law professor at U.C. Berkeley would do about it. The opposite of that is correct."

ROTFLMAO

Does make you wonder about what they're teaching there, doesn't it?

Mac Lorry, there is a world... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Mac Lorry, there is a world of difference between:

a policy of relying on jailhouse informants even though it sometimes led to false evidence

and
prosecutors who knowingly manufacture false evidence

That latter is simply slander even if the first is true.

SPQR,You only cite... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

SPQR,

You only cited part of a sentence in making your clime of slander. The original sentence is a question, not a statement. Quote the whole sentence, not just the parts you like. When you do it's clear there's no slander there.

You are also avoiding the real issue of what recourse individuals have in redressing injustice. Should prosecutors have blanket immunity? I understand the reason behind such immunity. However, when someone like Goldstein brings specific accusations of what I would consider criminal misconduct, should the courts just turn a blind eye to it? If so, prosecutors under pressure to convict someone for a high profile crime are more likely to use such tactics. Is that the kind of justice system you want? Pray you never find yourself in jail for something you didn't do only to have the likes of Fink claiming you confessed to him.

Re "Court to Hear Oral Argu... (Below threshold)
ras:

Re "Court to Hear Oral Arguments on Death Penalty for Child Rape," a coupla q's for you lawyers out here:

1. Does punishment have to be both cruel AND unusual to be banned, per the wording. One would think so, since all punishment - e.g. locking a person up for 20 years - is cruel to some degree, and therefore a cruel OR unusual interpretation would make all punishment impossible.

2. Is a punishment considered unusual if it has simply not been used for a while? If so, how long? Or is the relevant standard that which was considered unusual at the time the law (constitution, in this case) was passed?

It would seem to me that if the death penalty is considered "not unusual" then the argument against it as being "cruel AND unusual" falls apart. But that's just my layman's opinion. Any thoughts?

Ras, try these link and th... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Ras, try these link and the following pages:
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment08/03.html




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