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Counsel's Misadvice Has Its Day In Court:  At SCOTUSblog, Anna Christensen summarizes yesterday's oral arguments in Padilla v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, a case addressing whether the Sixth Amendment provides a remedy to defendants who have been misadvised as to immigration consequences by their attorneys.  Christensen writes that Padilla's attorney, Stephen Kinnaird, took the stance that Padilla should get relief because any advice given to a defendant by his attorney with regard to a guilty plea affects criminal liability.  She writes that Supreme Court Justices expressed concern such a ruling would place a burden on courts to inquire into the circumstances of every guilty plea.  Michael Dreeben, Deputy Solicitor General, argued in favor of affirming Kentucky's holding.  He argued that the Sixth Amendment does not entitle a defendant to advice regarding potential immigration consequences in the first place.  Christensen also reports that Kentucky's attorney, Wm. Robert Long, spent much of his time "respond[ing[to a series of questions concerning the 'professional norms' governing attorney conduct."  He argued that Strickland v. Washington treats "professional norms" as guidelines, and not as hard, and fast rules.  Adam Liptak also reports on yesterday's oral arguments in the New York Times. He believes the Justices were "sympathetic," but "uncertain about whether they could fashion a legal rule that would address extreme cases without causing turmoil in the criminal justice system." Yesterday's News Scan provides some background on Padilla's claim. 

Death Penalty Support Remains Strong:  Yesterday, Gallup released the results of its annual Crime Survey and found "that 65% of Americans continue to support the use of the death penalty for persons convicted of murder, while 31% oppose it..."  Today, on Sentencing Law and Policy, Doug Berman posts some of his highlights from the report.  According to Berman, "Gallup's death-penalty data stretch back more than seven decades," and as early as 1936, "59% of Americans supported the use of the death penalty in cases of murder, compared to 38% who opposed it[,]" -- numbers that aren't too far off recent results.  Another interesting finding is that 49% of Americans say the death penalty is not imposed often enough, 24% say it is imposed "the right amount," while 20% say it is imposed too often.  

Federal Forfeiture Argument at the Supreme Court
:  At Wall Street Journal's Law Blog, Jennifer Forsyth writes that today, the Supreme Court tackled the issue of whether owners of assets that have been seized are entitled to a more prompt hearing to make a case that they should get their property back.  The case, Alvarez v. Smith, arose from the Seventh Circuit's holding that the Constitution requires owners to get a more timely chance to reclaim their property.  In other words, evidence seized as part of a drug bust should not be held for three years before someone gets their car back.  Forsyth notes that this Seventh Circuit decision "features an interesting Sonia Sotomayor twist."  Apparently, Justice Sotomayor struck down New York City's forfeiture system when she sat as a Second Circuit judge.

A Familiar Death Penalty Challenge from 1983:
  At Bench Memos, Ed Whalen's "This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism" reports on the 1983 D.C. Circuit court finding that a state [that] carries out capital punishment by lethal injection, must have the drugs deemed "safe and effective" for that use by the Food and Drug Administration.  Then-Judge Scalia dissented from the decision, and the the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the holding to rule that the FDA's decision not to institute enforcement proceedings was not judicially reviewable.  

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