The weekly edition is now available. From the intro:
Leading off this week is another capital GVR. In Thaler v. Anthony Haynes the Court held “that a trial judge need not personally observe a potential juror’s behavior in deciding later whether that juror was denied a seat on the panel because of race, despite the prosecutor’s claim that she was excluded because of her demeanor under questioning. No prior ruling of the Court, the Justices said in an unsigned, apparently unanimous opinion, requires that the judge have been on hand during jury selection in order to evaluate a claimed violation of Batson v. Kentucky, when the use of a peremptory strike was based on a claim of juror demeanor.”
Elsewhere, the Office of Capital Writs, created by the Texas Legislature in 2009, is looking for a director of its Austin Office. Hank Skinner’s execution date has been reset for late March despite growing concerns of his potential factual innocence. DPIC notes that “in an historic decision, a panel of judges outside of the state’s court system unanimously voted to exonerate and release Gregory Taylor, a North Carolina man who was imprisoned for nearly 17 years for first-degree murder.” DPIC also examines “Messages of Life from Death Row features correspondence from Texas death row inmate Roger McGowen to sociologist and writer Pierre Pradervand.. . . [describing] life on death row and point to flaws in the American criminal justice system, especially the arbitrary nature of the death penalty.” Adam Liptak in the New York Times has posted his Sidebar column on the Dean Hood case entitled “Questions of an Affair and a Fair Trial.” The U.S. Department of Justice hosted a two day symposium on indigent defense last Thursday and Friday in Washington, DC; StandDown has the details. ACS is circulating an “Issue Brief” by Scott Phillips, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Denver, entitled “Hire a Lawyer, Escape the Death Penalty?” looking at Harris County and the apparent failure of indigent defense in capital cases.
As the recession has grown worse so have many public defender’s dockets. My docket has been no different and helps explain the slow down here and over at the daily blog. Adding to that, over the course of the last few weeks and for the next month, or so, I’ve been prepping and, starting next week, trying a fairly complex sexual assault case remanded for new trial by my state Supreme Court, State v. Schnabel, 196 N.J. 116. I’m hoping to have editions “out” for at least one or two of those weeks, but my apologies in advance for those editions being very abbreviated and no guarantees as to schedule. As always, thanks for reading. -k