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Sixth Amendment

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More Than Just A Factfinder: The Right To Unanimous Jury Sentencing In Capital Cases, Richa Bijlani May 2022

More Than Just A Factfinder: The Right To Unanimous Jury Sentencing In Capital Cases, Richa Bijlani

Michigan Law Review

For some defendants, sentencing may be even more harrowing than a determination of guilt or innocence. Those facing capital punishment have the most to lose at the sentencing phase. The Supreme Court is not ignorant to this reality, finding in Ring v. Arizona that “the Sixth Amendment would be senselessly diminished” if it had no application to death penalty proceedings. Yet under its permissive jurisprudence, the Court has suggested that the Sixth Amendment is satisfied in the death penalty context even if its protections vanish postconviction. This Note argues instead that the Sixth Amendment—specifically the jury right—should protect ...


The Dignitary Confrontation Clause, Erin L. Sheley Apr 2022

The Dignitary Confrontation Clause, Erin L. Sheley

Faculty Scholarship

For seventeen years, the Supreme Court’s Confrontation Clause jurisprudence has been confused and confusing. In Crawford v. Washington (2004), the Court overruled prior precedent and held that “testimonial” out-of-court statements could not be admitted at trial unless the defendant had an opportunity to cross-examine the declarant, even when the statement would be otherwise admissible as particularly reliable under an exception to the rule against hearsay. In a series of contradictory opinions over the next several years, the Court proceeded to expand and then seemingly roll back this holding, leading to widespread chaos in common types of cases, particularly those ...


Crime And Punishment: An Empirical Study Of The Effects Of Racial Bias On Capital Sentencing Decisions, Matthew A. Gasperetti Feb 2022

Crime And Punishment: An Empirical Study Of The Effects Of Racial Bias On Capital Sentencing Decisions, Matthew A. Gasperetti

University of Miami Law Review

Racism has left an indelible stain on American history and remains a powerful social force that continues to shape crime and punishment in the contemporary United States. In this article, I discuss the socio-legal construction of race, explore how racism infected American culture, and trace the racist history of capital punishment from the Colonial Era to the present. After framing the death penalty in cultural and historical context, I report original empirical results from one of the largest studies (n = 3,284) of mock juror capital sentencing decisions published to date. My results show that mock jurors who self reported ...


Using Waller To Uphold First And Sixth Amendment Rights Throughout The Covid-19 Pandemic, Maya Chaudhuri Feb 2022

Using Waller To Uphold First And Sixth Amendment Rights Throughout The Covid-19 Pandemic, Maya Chaudhuri

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

In The Right to a Public Trial in the Time of COVID-19, Professor Stephen Smith argued that the COVID-19 pandemic justified an almost categorical suspension of the right to a public trial. Judges have relied on Smith’s Article to justify closure decisions made without the constitutionally required specific findings. These are part of a larger pattern of improper closure determinations, many made without fully considering alternatives to closure, since the beginning of the pandemic that threatens the rights of individuals with criminal cases and the collective rights of the public. But the Constitution has no pandemic exception, and it ...


Constitutional Rights In The Time Of Covid-19: Sf Public Defender Sues Sf Superior Court, Alleging Violations Of Detainees’ Sixth Amendment Rights, Golden Gate University School Of Law Nov 2021

Constitutional Rights In The Time Of Covid-19: Sf Public Defender Sues Sf Superior Court, Alleging Violations Of Detainees’ Sixth Amendment Rights, Golden Gate University School Of Law

GGU Law Review Blog

“One of the most oppressive things a state can do is to take away your freedom and then deny you what’s necessary to win it back,” said Manojar Raju, San Francisco Public Defender, during a rally held on the front steps of San Francisco’s Hall of Justice.

On September 14, 2021, Raju filed a lawsuit against the Superior Court of California and the city of San Francisco. The lawsuit alleges that the San Francisco Superior Court has been routinely violating citizens’ Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial.

In fact, as of August 30, 2021, there are about ...


Confrontation’S Multi-Analyst Problem, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman Nov 2021

Confrontation’S Multi-Analyst Problem, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman

Texas A&M Law Review

The Confrontation Clause in the Sixth Amendment affords the “accused” in “criminal prosecutions” the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against” them. A particular challenge for courts over at least the last decade-plus has been the degree to which the Confrontation Clause applies to forensic reports, such as those presenting the results of a DNA, toxicology, or other CSI-type analysis. Should use of forensic reports entitle criminal defendants to confront purportedly “objective” analysts from the lab producing the report? If so, which analyst or analysts? For forensic processes that require multiple analysts, should the prosecution be required to produce ...


Confrontation's Multi-Analyst Problem, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman Apr 2021

Confrontation's Multi-Analyst Problem, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Confrontation Clause in the Sixth Amendment affords the “accused” in “criminal prosecutions” the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against” them. A particular challenge for courts over at least the last decade-plus has been the degree to which the Confrontation Clause applies to forensic reports, such as those presenting the results of a DNA, toxicology, or other CSI-type analysis. Should use of forensic reports entitle criminal defendants to confront purportedly “objective” analysts from the lab producing the report? If so, which analyst or analysts? For forensic processes that require multiple analysts, should the prosecution be required to produce ...


Enhanced Public Defense Improves Pretrial Outcomes And Reduces Racial Disparities, Paul Heaton Apr 2021

Enhanced Public Defense Improves Pretrial Outcomes And Reduces Racial Disparities, Paul Heaton

Indiana Law Journal

Numerous jurisdictions are working to reform pretrial processes to reduce or eliminate money bail and decrease pretrial detention. Although reforms such as the abandonment of bail schedules or adoption of actuarial risk assessment tools have been widely enacted, the role of defense counsel in the pretrial process has received less attention.

This Article considers an approach to pretrial reform focused on improving the quality of defense counsel. In Philadelphia, a substantial fraction of people facing criminal charges are detained following rapid preliminary hearings where initial release conditions are set by bail magistrates operating with limited information. Beginning in 2017, the ...


Increasing Substantive Fairness And Mitigating Social Costs In Eviction Proceedings: Instituting A Civil Right To Counsel For Indigent Tenants In Pennsylvania, Robin M. White Apr 2021

Increasing Substantive Fairness And Mitigating Social Costs In Eviction Proceedings: Instituting A Civil Right To Counsel For Indigent Tenants In Pennsylvania, Robin M. White

Dickinson Law Review

The U.S. Constitution provides criminal defendants the right to a court-appointed attorney but gives no similar protection to civil litigants. Although federal law does not supply any categorical rights to counsel for civil litigants, all 50 states have instituted the right in at least one category of civil law that substantially impacts individuals’ rights. Since 2017, several U.S. cities have enacted such a right for tenants facing eviction. In so doing, these cities responded to American families’ increasing rent burden, the recent publication of nationwide eviction data, the sociological research concerning the impact of eviction, and the lack ...


Pretrial Custody And Miranda, Kit Kinports Apr 2021

Pretrial Custody And Miranda, Kit Kinports

Washington and Lee Law Review

In two recent opinions, Maryland v. Shatzer and Howes v. Fields, the Supreme Court concluded that inmates serving prison sentences were not in custody for purposes of Miranda—in Shatzer’s case while he was living among the general prison population and in Fields’s case while he was undergoing police interrogation. The question addressed in this Article is one that has divided the lower courts in the wake of those two decisions: the impact of the Court’s rulings on the hundreds of thousands of pretrial detainees in this country, many of whom are poor, Black, and Brown. This ...


Santa Fe Reporter Interviews Maryam Ahranjani: Change Of Venue, District Court Judge To Consider Defense’S Argument That A Fair Trial In The Slaying Of Basketball Star Is Impossible In Santa Fe, Maryam Ahranjani, Katherine Lewin Mar 2021

Santa Fe Reporter Interviews Maryam Ahranjani: Change Of Venue, District Court Judge To Consider Defense’S Argument That A Fair Trial In The Slaying Of Basketball Star Is Impossible In Santa Fe, Maryam Ahranjani, Katherine Lewin

Faculty Scholarship

Maryam Ahranjani, a criminal law professor at the University of New Mexico, concedes that the "accessibility" of information is much different now than when the Founding Fathers ratified the Sixth Amendment (the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury), but that the original idea of that section of the Constitution stemmed from the belief trials are best held in the community in which they occurred.

"Certainly judges are willing to change venues sometimes, consistent with that original idea that the local community is what defines the crime and so they're the ones who should determine ...


The Power To “Try” “Cases Of Impeachment”: Some Reflections On The Finality, Transparency And Integrity Of Senate Adjudications Of Presidential Impeachments (Including That Of Donald J. Trump), Vikram D. Amar, Jason Mazzone Jan 2021

The Power To “Try” “Cases Of Impeachment”: Some Reflections On The Finality, Transparency And Integrity Of Senate Adjudications Of Presidential Impeachments (Including That Of Donald J. Trump), Vikram D. Amar, Jason Mazzone

Chicago-Kent Law Review

No abstract provided.


When Mental Health Meets “The One-Armed Man” Defense: How Courts Should Deal With Mccoy Defendants, Farid Seyyedi Jan 2021

When Mental Health Meets “The One-Armed Man” Defense: How Courts Should Deal With Mccoy Defendants, Farid Seyyedi

St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

The Supreme Court’s opinion in McCoy v. Louisiana held that a defendant has a constitutional right to insist their attorney not concede guilt as to any element of an offense, even if doing so is the only reasonable trial strategy to give the defendant a chance at life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. Under McCoy’s holding, a defendant can insist on maintaining their innocence—even in the face of overwhelming evidence—and force their attorney to pursue a defense that will land them on death row. The Supreme Court’s holding makes clear that a strategic concession ...


What’S In A Name? Strict Scrutiny And The Right To A Public Trial, Stephen Smith Jan 2021

What’S In A Name? Strict Scrutiny And The Right To A Public Trial, Stephen Smith

Faculty Publications

The right to a public trial has only rarely been addressed by the Supreme Court, but in Waller v. Georgia, the Court set forth a test for determining when it is appropriate to close a courtroom to the public, despite the general public trial command. The language of the Waller test suggests great rigor. This essay proposes a reconsideration of the test for courtroom closures, rethinking whether traditional strict scrutiny thinking is appropriate in this constitutional and practical context. That said, this essay does not argue with Waller’s broad outlines. Courts making closure decisions should consider reasons and alternatives ...


Transparency In Plea Bargaining, Jenia I. Turner Jan 2021

Transparency In Plea Bargaining, Jenia I. Turner

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

lea bargaining is the dominant method by which our criminal justice system resolves cases. More than 95% of state and federal convictions today are the product of guilty pleas. Yet the practice continues to draw widespread criticism. Critics charge that it is too coercive and leads innocent defendants to plead guilty, that it obscures the true facts in criminal cases and produces overly lenient sentences, and that it enables disparate treatment of similarly situated defendants.

Another feature of plea bargaining — its lack of transparency — has received less attention, but is also concerning. In contrast to the trials it replaces, plea ...


The Pandemic Juror, Melanie D. Wilson Sep 2020

The Pandemic Juror, Melanie D. Wilson

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

While the deadly and highly contagious COVID-19 virus lingers and spreads across the country, courts are resuming criminal jury trials. In moving forward, judges reference case backlogs, speedy trial rights, and other concerns for the rights of the accused. Overlooked in this calculus is the importance of jurors and their safety. The Sixth Amendment guarantees “the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.” Without jurors, there is no justice.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the justice system sometimes took advantage of juror vulnerability, treating jurors callously, if not rudely, during voir dire by asking them intensely ...


A Small But Mighty Docket: Select Criminal Law And Procedure Cases From The Supreme Court's 2019-20 Term, Eve Brensike Primus, Jeremy Shur Sep 2020

A Small But Mighty Docket: Select Criminal Law And Procedure Cases From The Supreme Court's 2019-20 Term, Eve Brensike Primus, Jeremy Shur

Articles

With its 2019-20 Term disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court released just 53 signed decisions, the fewest decisions in a Term since the Civil War. But the Court's lighter docket still featured important criminal law and procedure cases touching on what constitutes reasonable individualized suspicion, the necessity of jury unanimity, and the proper form of the insanity defense.


Restoring The Presumption Of Innocence: Protecting A Defendant’S Right To A Fair Trial By Closing The Door On 404(B) Evidence, Aaron Diaz Sep 2020

Restoring The Presumption Of Innocence: Protecting A Defendant’S Right To A Fair Trial By Closing The Door On 404(B) Evidence, Aaron Diaz

St. Mary's Law Journal

Congress enacted the Federal Rules of Evidence to govern evidentiary procedures and “eliminate unjustifiable expense and delay.” In criminal cases, for example, Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) seeks to prevent prosecutors from improperly introducing a defendant’s past misdeeds. Nevertheless, prosecutors often attempt to introduce a defendant’s past misconduct to suggest that a defendant has a propensity to commit crimes, which is improper character evidence. Unsurprisingly, 404(b) is one of the most litigated evidence rules and has generated more published opinions than any other subsections of the Rules. And despite efforts to amend Rule 404(b), the ...


Disaggregating Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Doctrine: Four Forms Of Constitutional Ineffectiveness, Eve Brensike Primus Jun 2020

Disaggregating Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Doctrine: Four Forms Of Constitutional Ineffectiveness, Eve Brensike Primus

Articles

For years, experts have blamed Strickland v. Washington’s lax standard for assessing trial attorney effectiveness for many of the criminal justice system’s problems. But the conventional understanding of Strickland as a problem for ineffectiveness claims gives the decision too much prominence because it treats Strickland as the test for all such claims. That is a mistake. Properly understood, the Supreme Court has recognized four different constitutional forms of trial attorney ineffectiveness, and Strickland’s two pronged test applies to only one of the four. If litigants and courts would notice this complexity and relegate Strickland to its proper ...


Ethical And Aggressive Appellate Advocacy: The Decision To Petition For Certiorari In Criminal Cases, J. Thomas Sullivan Jun 2020

Ethical And Aggressive Appellate Advocacy: The Decision To Petition For Certiorari In Criminal Cases, J. Thomas Sullivan

St. Mary's Law Journal

Over the past six decades, United States Supreme Court decisions have dramatically reshaped the criminal justice process to provide significant protections for defendants charged in federal and state proceedings reflecting a remarkable expansion of due process and specific constitutional guarantees. For criminal defendants seeking relief based on recognition of new rules of constitutional criminal procedure, application of existing rules or precedent to novel factual scenarios, or in some cases, enforcement of existing precedent, obtaining relief requires further action on the Court’s part. In those situations, the Court’s exercise of its certiorari jurisdiction is the exclusive remedy offering an ...


The Right To A Public Trial In The Time Of Covid-19, Stephen E. Smith May 2020

The Right To A Public Trial In The Time Of Covid-19, Stephen E. Smith

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

Maintaining social distance in the time of COVID-19 is a public health priority. A crowded courtroom is an environment at odds with public health needs. Accordingly, until science determines otherwise, it will be necessary for judges to manage courtroom attendance and exclude the public from trials, wholly or in part. Courtrooms may be closed to the public, despite the Sixth Amendment’s right to a public trial, when the closure is justified by a strong government interest and is narrowly tailored to further that interest. Typically, this heightened scrutiny is applied on a case-by-case basis and turns on a case ...


The Right To A Public Trial In The Time Of Covid-19, Stephen E. Smith May 2020

The Right To A Public Trial In The Time Of Covid-19, Stephen E. Smith

Faculty Publications

Maintaining social distance in the time of COVID-19 is a public health priority. A crowded courtroom is an environment at odds with public health needs. Accordingly, until science determines otherwise, it will be necessary for judges to manage courtroom attendance and exclude the public from trials, wholly or in part. Courtrooms may be closed to the public, despite the Sixth Amendment’s right to a public trial, when the closure is justified by a strong government interest and is narrowly tailored to further that interest. Typically, this heightened scrutiny is applied on a case-by-case basis and turns on a case ...


The Right To A Well-Rested Jury, Caroline Howe May 2020

The Right To A Well-Rested Jury, Caroline Howe

Michigan Law Review

The vast amount of control that state trial judges exercise over the dynamics of their courtrooms is well established. The length of trial days and jury deliberations, however, has received little scholarly attention. Longstanding research has conclusively established the disruptive effects of sleep deprivation on many of the mental facilities necessary for juries to competently fulfill their duties. By depriving juries of sleep, trial judges may be compromising the fair rights of criminal defendants for the sake of efficiency. This Note argues that trial judges must use their discretion to ensure juries are well-rested, keeping jurors’ needs in mind. Further ...


You Made Gideon A Promise, Eh?: Advocating For Mandated Publicly Appointed Counsel At Bail Hearings In The United States Through Domestic Comparisons With Canadian Practices And Legal Considerations, Lauren Elizabeth Lisauskas Feb 2020

You Made Gideon A Promise, Eh?: Advocating For Mandated Publicly Appointed Counsel At Bail Hearings In The United States Through Domestic Comparisons With Canadian Practices And Legal Considerations, Lauren Elizabeth Lisauskas

Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law

No abstract provided.


“A World Of Steel-Eyed Death”: An Empirical Evaluation Of The Failure Of The Strickland Standard To Ensure Adequate Counsel To Defendants With Mental Disabilities Facing The Death Penalty, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon, Sarah Chatt Jan 2020

“A World Of Steel-Eyed Death”: An Empirical Evaluation Of The Failure Of The Strickland Standard To Ensure Adequate Counsel To Defendants With Mental Disabilities Facing The Death Penalty, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon, Sarah Chatt

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

First, we discuss the background of the development of counsel adequacy in death penalty cases. Next, we look carefully at Strickland, and the subsequent Supreme Court cases that appear—on the surface—to bolster it in this context. We then consider multiple jurisprudential filters that we believe must be taken seriously if this area of the law is to be given any authentic meaning. Next, we will examine and interpret the data that we have developed. Finally, we will look at this entire area of law through the filter of therapeutic jurisprudence, and then explain why and how the charade ...


Balancing Sorna And The Sixth Amendment: The Case For A "Restricted Circumstance-Specific Approach", John F. Howard Jan 2020

Balancing Sorna And The Sixth Amendment: The Case For A "Restricted Circumstance-Specific Approach", John F. Howard

Marquette Law Review

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) is in place to protect the public, children especially, from sex offenders. Under SORNA, anyone and everyone convicted of what the law defines as a “sex offense” is required to register as a “sex offender,” providing accurate and up-to-date information on where they live, work, and go to school. Failure to do so constitutes a federal crime punishable by up to ten years imprisonment. But how do federal courts determine whether a particular state-level criminal offense constitutes a “sex offense” under SORNA? Oftentimes when doing comparisons between state and federal law for ...


Nevada V. Inzunza, 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 69 (Dec. 26, 2019), Christopher Gonzalez Jan 2020

Nevada V. Inzunza, 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 69 (Dec. 26, 2019), Christopher Gonzalez

Nevada Supreme Court Summaries

The Court affirmed a pretrial motion to dismiss of an indictment after it determined that the State failed to rebut the presumption of prejudice after an analysis under the Barker-Doggett factors. The Court afforded “the only possible remedy” after it was found that a 26 month delay resulted from the State’s gross negligence and the delay was prejudicial to Inzunza.


The Future Of The Confrontation Clause: Semiautonomous And Autonomous Machine Witnesses, Brian Sites Jan 2020

The Future Of The Confrontation Clause: Semiautonomous And Autonomous Machine Witnesses, Brian Sites

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

How should the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment be interpreted as to machine witnesses? Courts across the country have resisted efforts to cross-examine the human agents who assist machines that generate data used in criminal trials. Such challenges under the Confrontation Clause have been rejected directly and in great number, and the rules of evidence are largely being read to not require the testimony of those who have the best information about the machine's use for the case at hand. This problem arises in an era of machine exceptionalism and widespread use. From increasingly sophisticated forensic lab tools ...


Anderson (Arnold) V. State, 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 37 (Sept. 5, 2019), Alexandra Matloff Sep 2019

Anderson (Arnold) V. State, 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 37 (Sept. 5, 2019), Alexandra Matloff

Nevada Supreme Court Summaries

The Court held that if a trial court determines by a preponderance of the evidence that a witness is unable to testify because the defendant wrongfully procured the witness’s unavailability and acted with intent to do so, the forfeiture-by-wrongdoing exception can be applied in order to deny a defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. The Court also held that in determining whether the forfeiture-by-wrongdoing exception applies, the trial court must hear the opposing parties’ arguments in the absence of a jury.


Recent Developments: The Right To A Fair Cross-Section Of The Community And The Black Box Of Jury Pool Selection In Arkansas, Raelynn J. Hillhouse Aug 2019

Recent Developments: The Right To A Fair Cross-Section Of The Community And The Black Box Of Jury Pool Selection In Arkansas, Raelynn J. Hillhouse

Arkansas Law Review

A Washington County, Arkansas court conducted a hearing on October 15, 2018 on a criminal defendant’s motion to compel discovery to assure a fair and accurate cross-section of the community for the jury as guaranteed by the United States and Arkansas Constitutions. At the hearing, the jury coordinator for the Circuit Clerk’s office testified that counties may elect to use a state-sponsored jury selection computer program, or they may use proprietary programs. Washington County uses a proprietary computer program to select the jury pool from a list of registered voters. The clerk described how her office takes an ...