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PTSD Made Him Do It:  Lyle Denniston reports over on SCOTUSblog that the Supreme Court has "put defense lawyers on notice that they should be prepared to use evidence of 'post-traumatic stress disorder' to try to save accused veterans from the death penalty."  According to Denniston, the Court's decision to overturn the death sentence of George Porter, Jr., in Porter v. McCollum (08-10537), reflects the Court's desire to protect a veteran's right to a fair trial, and is "a sign of the times for a nation at war on two fronts[.]"  Porter was convicted for murdering his former girlfriend and her boyfriend in 1986.  Today, the Court sent his case back to the Eleventh Circuit.  The Court reasoned that if jury had heard about Porter's wartime experiences and other evidence about mental problems, it might well have refused to recommend a death sentence.  Tony Mauro also has a post on the Court's decision, and the significance of some of its language.  Mauro believes that the Court's decision uses "language that is sure to be cited in future cases involving veterans."  Kent's post, Michigan on a Roll, also notes the Court's decision. 

The Clemency Power:  This past week, Sentencing Law and Policy's Doug Berman has spent some time blogging on the use of the clemency power for convicted criminals.  On Thursday, he posted his thoughts on a Washington Post op-ed by Molly Gill that was critical of the President's use of the clemency power.  Berman noted that he "shared [Gill's] concern for the lack of use of the clemency power" but did not believe it was fair to place blame entirely on President Obama and his staff.  The blame could be placed on the the crimes committed by some pardoned offenders.  Today on Sentencing Law and Policy, Berman noted that Mike Huckabee's grant of clemency to Washington's suspected cop killer could impact crime and justice debates.  In 2000, then-Arkansas governor Huckabee commuted the 95-year prison sentence of Maurice Clemmons, the man suspected of killing four officers in Lakewood, Washington.  Berman comments that this sort of high profile case "could further contribute to giving all clemency grants a very bad name and likely will make governors and presidents even more skittish about how they use their clemency power."  

More Comments on the "Right and Left Join[ing] Forces on Criminal Justice:
  Last week Adam Liptak reported in the New York Times that in some Supreme Court cases a few conservative groups have filed amicus briefs supporting defendants.  Our News Scan linked to the article and Kent provided his comments.  Last Saturday, Joel Jacobsen posted his thoughts on the piece on his blog, Judging Crimes.  According to Jacobsen, the "cheering article" also ranks "among the most nauseating [Jacobsen has] ever read about the criminal justice system" - mostly for its support of Ed Meese. Apparently Jacobsen does not agree with Mr. Meese's role in what Jacobsen calls the "modern era of mass incarceration."  To each his own.  There's no denying that Mr. Meese is a staunch supporter of law and order, as Kent noted in his post, nor is there anything wrong with holding criminals accountable for their crimes.

The ABA's Top 100 Blawgs:  Hat tip to Howard Bashman for today's link to "Third Annual ABA Journal Blawg 100."  The article, which will be published on the cover of the December 2009 issue, lists Crime and Consequences as one of the top 100 Blawgs.   Crime and Consequences is one of five blawgs listed under the ABA's Criminal Justice category.  It calls us - to borrow the words of Stephen E. Maher, an attorney from Attorney General's Office of Ohio, Capital Crimes Section -  "most informative for the prosecution crowd." 

    

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