So when you are stone cold guilty of a crime for which the death penalty is clearly appropriate, what do your lawyers argue about at the last minute? Drug expiration dates. Really.
Recently in Criminal Procedure Category
Khatallah has been identified by the State Department as a "senior leader" of Ansar al-Sharia, one of the al-Qaeda-tied franchises in Libya. Yet there is no mention of Ansar al-Sharia in the indictment, much less of al-Qaeda or the Islamic-supremacist ideology that ties jihadist affiliates together. In fact, the indictment does not even accuse Khatallah of being a terrorist.******************
Nothing about a long-running, ongoing jihadist war against the United States.
Instead, the indictment is written to portray a sudden, spontaneous eruption of violence, without much planning or warning, in which Khatallah -- who knows . . . perhaps inspired by a video -- abruptly joined a disgruntled group of protesters that turned out to include some shady terrorists motivated by . . . well, who can really say? All we know is the violence started without warning and, before you could scramble a fighter-jet or fuel up Air Force One for a Vegas campaign junket, it was all over.
There are a lot of downsides to giving enemy-combatant terrorists all the majesty of American due process. But at least it used to mean that, by the end, you'd have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Now, it's starting to look like what you get on the Sunday shows.
My own reaction to the critics is one of gratitude for their contributions but dismay that they have allowed the pursuit of perfection in criminal justice to become the enemy of the good. Much about American criminal justice is indeed good. The system provides considerable protections for the accused and sets proper limits on the brutality and deceit that human beings can inflict upon each other.
Simply put, in calling for an overhaul of our criminal law and procedure, the critics have failed to appreciate the careful balance our criminal justice system strikes between competing rights and values. They have failed to respect the benefits of the system's front-end features--namely, early process and early resolution. Moreover, they have sold short the democratic virtues of our system. The sensible tradeoffs reflected in American criminal justice are worthy of respect, and the system's democratic tilt is deserving of praise. The critics have extended neither. Ultimately, the often harsh tone of their indictment has done an injustice to the system of criminal justice itself.
Update: In other SCOTUS action, the high court ruled unanimously for the police in the car chase/excessive force case, Plumhoff v. Richard, and the Secret Service v. protesters case, Wood v. Moss. The court ruled 5-4 for the allegedly (but actually not) retarded murderer in the "error of measurement" case, Hall v. Florida. I will have more on these cases later.
This Article presents the results of a survey of jurors in federal and state court on their use of social media during their jury service. We began surveying federal jurors in 2011 and reported preliminary results in 2012; since then, we have surveyed several hundred more jurors, including state jurors, for a more complete picture of juror attitudes toward social media. Our results support the growing consensus that jury instructions are the most effective tool to mitigate the risk of juror misconduct through social media. We conclude with a set of recommended best practices for using a social-media instruction.The introduction section (footnotes omitted) follows the break.
A federal statute, 21 U. S. C. §853(e), authorizes a court to freeze an indicted defendant's assets prior to trial if they would be subject to forfeiture upon conviction. In United States v. Monsanto, 491 U. S. 600, 615 (1989), we approved the constitutionality of such an order so long as it is "based on a finding of probable cause to believe that the property will ultimately be proved forfeitable." And we held that standard to apply even when a defendant seeks to use the disputed property to pay for a lawyer.Unusual lineup on this one. Opinion by Justice Kagan, joined by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Alito. Dissent by Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Justices Breyer and Sotomayor.
In this case, two indicted defendants wishing to hire an attorney challenged a pre-trial restraint on their property.The trial court convened a hearing to consider the seizure's legality under Monsanto. The question presented is whether criminal defendants are constitutionally entitled at such a hearing to contest a grand jury's prior determination of probable cause to believe they committed the crimes charged. We hold that they have no right to relitigate that finding.
The argument spent less time on the AEDPA standard than I would have liked. On page 31 the Chief Justice says, "No one's talked about the standard yet." Then they talk about it.
No clear winner emerges from the argument. If the underlying issue were before the Court on direct appeal, it actually would be a close call. As I've said before, though, when the underlying issue is close, the AEDPA issue is easy. At least it should be, if judges would apply §2254(d) the way it is written and the way it was intended. Stay tuned.
I don't have the actual ruling, but from the story it appears that the judge might believe that litigating the method of execution is the new normal, a permanent additional phase to capital litigation, and every inmate has to be allowed that challenge. It shouldn't be. A single-drug execution with pentobarbital is so far from the risk of extreme pain required under Baze that there normally should not be any basis for a stay.
[Editor's Note: Orders are here and here. No dissent noted. Scalia recused.]