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Full-Text Articles in Law

Incompetent Plea Bargaining And Extrajudicial Reforms, Stephanos Bibas Nov 2012

Incompetent Plea Bargaining And Extrajudicial Reforms, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Last year, in Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye, a five-to-four majority of the Supreme Court held that incompetent lawyering that causes a defendant to reject a plea offer can constitute deficient performance, and the resulting loss of a favorable plea bargain can constitute cognizable prejudice, under the Sixth Amendment. This commentary, published as part of the Harvard Law Review’s Supreme Court issue, analyzes both decisions. The majority and dissenting opinions almost talked past each other, reaching starkly different conclusions because they started from opposing premises: contemporary and pragmatic versus historical and formalist. Belatedly, the Court noticed that ...


Taming Negotiated Justice, Stephanos Bibas Jun 2012

Taming Negotiated Justice, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

After four decades of neglecting laissez-faire plea bargaining, the Supreme Court got it right. In Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper, the Court recognized that the Sixth Amendment regulates plea bargaining. Thus, the Court held that criminal defendants can challenge deficient advice that causes them to reject favorable plea bargains and receive heavier sentences after trial. Finally, the Court has brought law to the shadowy plea-bargaining bazaar.

Writing in dissent, Justice Scalia argued that the majority’s opinion “opens a whole new boutique of constitutional jurisprudence (‘plea-bargaining law’).” To which I say: it is about time the Court developed ...


Who Said The Crawford Revolution Would Be Easy?, Richard D. Friedman Jan 2012

Who Said The Crawford Revolution Would Be Easy?, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

One of the central protections of our system of criminal justice is the right of the accused in all criminal prosecutions "to be confronted with the witnesses against him." It provides assurance that prosecution witnesses will give their testimony in the way demanded for centuries by Anglo-American courts-in the presence of the accused, subject to cross-examination- rather than in any other way. Witnesses may not, for example, testify by speaking privately to governmental agents in a police station or in their living rooms. Since shortly after it was adopted, however, the confrontation right became obscured by the ascendance of a ...


A Crisis In Federal Habeas Law, Eve Brensike Primus Jan 2012

A Crisis In Federal Habeas Law, Eve Brensike Primus

Reviews

Everyone recognizes that federal habeas doctrine is a mess. Despite repeated calls for reform, federal judges continue to waste countless hours reviewing habeas petitions only to dismiss the vast majority of them on procedural grounds. Broad change is necessary, but to be effective, such change must be animated by an overarching theory that explains when federal courts should exercise habeas jurisdiction. In Habeas for the Twenty-First Century: Uses, Abuses, and the Future of the Great Writ, Professors Nancy King and Joseph Hoffmann offer such a theory. Drawing on history, current practice, and empirical data, King and Hoffmann find unifying themes ...


Confrontation Control, Pamela R. Metzger Jan 2012

Confrontation Control, Pamela R. Metzger

Faculty Scholarship

After Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 42 (2004), face-to-face confrontation between accused and accuser is the constitutionally normative mode of presentation for testimonial evidence. Yet, eight years into the Crawford revolution, courts routinely hold that counsel can waive a defendant's confrontation rights without even discussing the matter with the defendant. Why? Because counsel, not client, has the authority to decide whether to confront and cross-examine government witnesses.

This Essay, written as part of the Texas Tech Sixth Amendment Symposium, explores this peculiar and perplexing rule. If confrontation is essential to a constitutionally valid criminal trial, how can ...


The Sky Is Still Not Falling, Richard D. Friedman Jan 2012

The Sky Is Still Not Falling, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

Cases since Crawford have mainly fallen into two categories. One involves accusations of crime, made by the apparent victim shortly after the incident. In Michigan v. Bryant, a majority of the Court adopted an unfortunately constricted view of the word "testimonial" in this context. That decision was a consequence of the Court having failed to adopt a robust view of when an accused forfeits the confrontation right. How the Court will deal with this situation-one mistake made in an attempt to compensate for another-is a perplexing and important question. This Essay, though, concentrates on the other principal category of post-Crawford ...


Confrontation And Forensic Laboratory Reports, Round Four, Richard D. Friedman Jan 2012

Confrontation And Forensic Laboratory Reports, Round Four, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

Crawford v. Washington radically transformed the doctrine governing the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution. Before Crawford, a prosecutor could introduce against an accused evidence of a hearsay statement, even one made in contemplation that it would be used in prosecution, so long as the statement fit within a "firmly rooted" hearsay exception or the court otherwise determined that the statement was sufficiently reliable to warrant admissibility. Crawford recognized that the Clause is a procedural guarantee, governing the manner in which prosecution witnesses give their testimony. Therefore, a prosecutor may not introduce a statement that is testimonial ...