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News Scan

Shooting Suspect Yells "Ali Akbar":  A man arrested for the murders of three men in Fresno yesterday is also the prime suspect for the murder of a motel security guard last week.  Jim Guy of the Sacramento Bee reports that Kori Ali Muhammad was arrested uninjured after killing three men near downtown Fresno.  He faces four counts of murder, including for the April 13 killing at Motel 6.  The Fresno Chief of Police told reporters that the four men he targeted were white, and although Muhammad tweeted, "Allahu Akbar" (which translates to "Allah is greatest") prior to his arrest, he was not prepared to define the shootings as terrorist acts.

The Other Case SCOTUS is Hearing Today:  While the national media has focused on the Supreme Court's review of the Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer reported here by CNN, another case before the Court, Weaver v. Massachusetts, is also worthy of mention.  As reported here by the Cornell's Legal Information Institute, the case raises the question of presumed prejudice for a structural error which arguably had zero impact on the defendant's trial or sentencing.  The answer to this question is fairly important.  The CJLF brief in the case is here, our press release is hereUpdate:  Transcript of the argument is hereUpdate 2:  Rory Little has this analysis at SCOTUSblog.


Based upon my reading of the briefs and the transcript, I believe that there are at least five votes in support of a holding that the unpreserved structural error in this case must satisfy the third prong of plain error review/the second prong of Strickland.

I may be way oversimplifying this, but it seems to me that the ineffective rep standard is the correct one to use. Defendants can waive protections, and when they are silent, they are presumed to have done so. Thus, unless the decision to waive was ineffective rep, the "error" was waived.

I know that there is a case out there about a few things that have to have a knowing waiver (from my long ago Crim Pro class), so that may be a problem, but this one, conceptually, seems not hard.

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