Separated at Birth?
The Libby Indictment

Why the Supreme Court Needs a Criminal Lawyer

I hope the next Supreme Court justice is a former criminal lawyer - prosecutor or defense.  Someone needs to tell the justices to quit granting cert. on so many crim pro non-issues. "But when he was alone, he spoke to his heart: 'Could it be possible? These old Justices on One First Street have not yet heard the news, that the Fourth Amendment is dead!'"  The Supreme Court has been granting cert. on Fourth Amendment issues that almost never arise in real life.  I can't remember the last time someone I know won a suppression motion.  Suppression motions are always filed, but winning one is "'almost as rare as hen's teeth." Prosecutors usually offer someone with a good suppression issue a sweet plea bargain.

Meanwhile there are really important issues that need addressed, and that are being ignored:

*  What is "testimonial hearsay" under Crawford v. Washington. Specifically, are excited utterances/spontaneous declarations admissible when the declarant is unavailable?  This issue arises in over half of all domestic violence cases.  Domestic violence cases are manifold, and they are very serious.  Because of the Lautenberg Amendment, anyone convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense loses his right to firearm ownership.  These are serious cases, both for battered-women and falsely accused me.  Whether or not someone can be convicted without having the opportunity to confront his accuser has serious real-world implications.

*  Is Booker retroactive? 

*  Dozens of other important sentencing-related issues are being ignored.  Since over 95% of cases are resolved by plea agreement, sentencing is arguably the most important aspect of modern criminal practice.  Crim pro and trial-related issues are "sexy," but mundane sentencing questions have much more practical import.

Perhaps a former criminal lawyer will tell the justices that these issues don't really matter, while also bringing attention to crim law-issues that do matter.  Something - anything - needs to be done.  Come to think of it, maybe the Court needs Judge Pryor to help them pick cases.

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