Taking a few days off -- a week, to be precise -- to spend some time with three of my closest friends in a parallel universe. (One in which, quite obviously, I age much more gracefully.) I'll be back next Monday with more of my keen wit, lucid prose, and incisive commentary. See you then.
Every year I do a recap of the US Supreme Court's decisions in criminal cases over the past term. This is the one for 2013-2014. You can find these by typing "supreme court review," followed by the year of the term, in the search box on the right. The list below gives the decision (with a link to the opinion), and a brief summary of the case. If I've done posts on oral argument or the decision itself, there will be links to those as well.
Since the Cleveland police discovered that they had 3,000 untested rape kits lying around their property rooms and belatedly sent them off to BCI, we've had a rash of "cold case" rape prosecutions. There have been innumerable people indicted on the 7,305th day -- 20 years -- since they allegedly committed the crime. In several cases, the State didn't have a name for the defendant, just a DNA profile, so they indicted the profile as "John Doe."
There are a number of legal issues that crop up in these cases: pre-indictment delay, Crawford... And a big problem is sentencing: most of the cold cases are from 1993 and 1994, which was two major sentencing reforms ago. People are scrambling to find out what the sentence for a particular crime was back in 1993.
I think that the relevant question is what the sentence for the offense is now.
For the first time in a month, we have several reversals in the 8th District.
One of them was an affirmance.
And yes, I know that doesn't make any sense.
Much of the talk about the Supreme Court's 2013 term continues to center around the Hobby Lobby decision, in which the five of the Court's male justices, all Catholics, decided that corporations have souls which might face eternal damnation if forced to allow their health insurance companies to provide certain contraception coverage to women, at no cost to the company. On the other hand, my many California readers can take comfort in the fact that the Court might soon redress the Golden State's citizens' inability to get goose liver; in Association des Éleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Québec v. Harris, the plaintiffs are asking the court to address the state law which bans importation of foie gras because of the manner in which it is produced.
On Thursday, I'll do my annual Supreme Court recap of the past term. No force-feeding involved.
Today's Helpful Hint. If you're a sex offender who's reading this, keep in mind that if you become destitute, you're legally required to tell the Sheriff that your address has been changed to the homeless shelter, and they'll come out and check to make sure.
The State wins a search case last week, and State v. Moore provides our Moment of Eeeeewww: the judge has to choose whether to believe cops' story that as they patted down Moore, bags of heroin fell out of his pants legs, or Moore's story that they retrieved the bags from his anal cavity. <Your joke here.> Since this happened on an Interstate after a traffic stop, I'm figuring that either the cops are telling the truth, of passersby had an unusually bad ride to work in the morning.
SCOTUS' term has come to an end, but that doesn't mean we have to stop talking about it. The Court was much less divided this year; only 14% of the 67 decisions were by 5-4 votes, half of last year's rate, and the lowest since 2005. A full two-thirds were by unanimous vote, similarly the highest percentage, by a significant margin, in years.
All that, and much more, comes courtesy of SCOTUSblog's annual Stat Pack. That'll give you the statistical breakdown, but for a review of the Court's criminal decisions in the past year, you've come to the right place: here. I'll have my annual review of those decisions in the next week or so.
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