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An Overview of last Term's Criminal Law Cases

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Last June brought an end to one of the less appetizing SCOTUS Terms as far as criminal (and other) cases are concerned, but Lance Rogers of the BNA's Criminal Law Reporter does a nice job summarizing them, with commentary  from Jeff Fisher of Stanford's Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Laurie Levenson of Loyola, Bruce Green of Fordham, our own Kent Scheidegger, and yours truly, trying but not fully succeeding to be philosophical about it all.

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Interesting read. What is truly amazing to me is the acceptance of the commentariat of just how truly results-oriented the Frye/Lafler decisions are.

A quote from the article:

Former American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section chairman Bruce Green told BNA he was surprised that the four dissenting justices in Frye and Lafler thought it did not matter that the defendant got a significantly longer jail sentence because of counsel's mistake as long as there were no trial errors.

“A decision going the other way would have excluded a big category of cases from the protection of the Sixth Amendment right,” he said.

But the Sixth Amendment is there to guarantee a fair trial. So how can one be surprised that four Justices stick with that precedent? No one really disputes that the majority based its decision on what it thinks a good justice system ought to look like, rather than the rights delineated in the Constitution. Remarkable.

When you find out that Prof. Green used to be the ABA Criminal Justice Section chairman, you know the game is over. The extent to which the ABA prefers the interests of criminals to those of normal people is astounding. Not for nothing did Chief Justice Rehnquist get the heck out of there.

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