Categories
Constitutional Law Criminal Law

SCOTUS Overrules Non-Unanimous Jury Verdicts But Were Stare Decisis and Abortion Also on Trial?

Back in August 2019 I wrote about Calvin Duncan, a jailhouse lawyer with only a 10th grade education who got the Supreme Court of the United States to look at the issue of non-unanimous jury verdicts in criminal cases, a procedure permitted in only two states: Louisiana and Oregon. (see https://courtroomstrategy.com/2019/08/power-of-persistence-jailhouse-lawyer-takes-case-to-scotus/ ) Well in October […]

Categories
Wrongful Convictions

Missouri Judge Won’t Reverse Lamar Johnson’s Conviction Even Though D.A. Says Her Office Engaged in Serious Misconduct

In a case showing just how much the criminal justice system favors form and finality over substance, a Missouri judge has denied a request by the St Louis District Attorney’s Office to overturn the conviction of Lamar Johnson, who is serving his 24th year of incarceration. Particularly shocking is that the St Louis DA Kim […]

Categories
Constitutional Law

What Young Lawyers Can Learn From Watching “Making A Murderer 2”

As my law school semester winds down, I usually like to send a message to my outgoing students who are all 3Ls who will be graduating this May. This semester, there has been a lot of buzz about Netflix’s true crime documentary “Making a Murderer 2” and I can see that it has inspired many […]

Categories
Constitutional Law Criminal Law

Why $10 Million for Marty Tankleff is Not Enough

Suffolk County lawmakers on Thursday approved a $10 million settlement for Martin Tankleff, who served 17 years in prison for killing his parents before an appellate court overturned the conviction in 2007. The legislature’s Ways and Means Committee voted 5-0 for the settlement, which was recommended by County Attorney Dennis Brown. “There’s no amount of […]

Categories
Constitutional Law Criminal Law Litigation

Client: “I’m Not Guilty!” – Lawyer: “Yes, You Are!” SCOTUS to Rule on Who Decides in Louisiana Death Penalty Case

Louisiana man Robert McCoy was accused of killing Christine Colston Young, Willie Young and Gregory Colston, who were the mother, stepfather and son of Mr. McCoy’s estranged wife. There was substantial evidence that he had done so. The actual shooting was caught on tape as the victim had called 911 upon the shooter’s arrival and […]

Categories
Constitutional Law Criminal Law

Judge Texts with Prosecutor Over Strategy on Trial: Same Old Song with New Twist

Suffolk County, NY judge Janine Barbera Dalli sent text messages to Suffolk County prosecutors this week, guiding them on how to charge and try a case against a defendant, in clear violation of judicial ethics that bar judges from communicating privately with one side in a case. To their credit, prosecutors immediately disclosed the texts […]

Categories
Constitutional Law Criminal Law

Prosecutor Overreach and Actual Facts Led to Kate Steinle Case Acquittal

Some cases take on a bigger life. Some cases get caught up in a political firestorm. Sacco and Vanzetti, The Scopes trial, The Rosenbergs, Willie Horton, Rodney King to name a few. They end up being not about what actually happened but about some larger societal issue that is reflected in the case. Anarchists, Evolution, […]

Categories
Constitutional Law Criminal Law

Judge falls asleep during murder trial. Illinois Appeals Ct says “So what?”

Illinois Judge Jeffrey O’Connor took a short nap during the presentation of evidence in the murder trial of Nicholas Sheley, charged with a notorious killing spree. At the 2014, trial, the lights were dimmed so the jury could watch security camera footage on a monitor. When the presentation ended, an assistant attorney general asked that […]

Categories
Constitutional Law Criminal Law

SCOTUS Changes Face of Criminal Trials With New Decision About Jurors and Race

The Supreme Court threw open the normally tightly-sealed doors of the jury room in overturning the conviction of Miguel Pena-Rodriguez in the case of Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado. In a 5-3 decision written by Justice Kennedy, the Court ruled that a juror’s racial basis in the jury room – which was only revealed to the public […]