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Unicorns and Plain Error

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Adam Liptak has this article in the NYT on yesterday's Supreme Court argument in Henderson v. United States, No. 11-9307.

The Supreme Court heard an unfocused argument on Wednesday from a Louisiana lawyer whose fumble at her client's sentencing hearing was at issue in the case. The lawyer's halting presentation put the justices in a collaborative and lighthearted mood, as they tried to puzzle out for themselves whether the sentence must stand. Unicorns figured in their analysis.
The transcript is here.  The issue is the application of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, not constitutional doctrine, so the holding will probably not make a binding precedent for state cases.  It will likely be persuasive authority in state courts, though, especially in states that have copied the federal rules.

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