ABA Journal

Sixth Amendment

40 ABA Journal Sixth Amendment articles.

Ineffective counsel at two levels entitles death row inmate to new sentencing, 4th Circuit says

A federal appeals court has ruled that a death row inmate in South Carolina is entitled to a new sentencing hearing because of failures by his trial counsel and appellate counsel.

Unvaccinated lawyer has to wear mask at client’s trial after top state court refuses to intervene

A criminal defense lawyer in Augusta, Maine, has to wear a mask in his client’s jury trial this week after the state’s top court refused to consider his claim that the face covering would prejudice jurors.

Appeals court slams judge’s ‘utterly racist’ theory on Black defendant’s frontal lobes

A New York appeals court has reduced a burglary sentence because of “shocking” and “utterly racist” comments by a sentencing judge who said the disruptive Black defendant’s frontal lobes were likely “retarded in growth.”

Sotomayor accuses majority of ‘linguistic contortion’ in rejecting ineffective assistance claim in death penalty case

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the ineffective assistance claim of a death row inmate who didn’t call his lawyers to testify about their failure to hire an expert to assess him for an intellectual disability.

Pro se defendant’s grandiose remarks not disqualifying, 4th Circuit says; some trial lawyers are ‘outright narcissists’

A defendant who made grandiose statements while defending himself was of the same ilk of many great trial lawyers who are somewhat full of themselves, a federal appeals court concluded in upholding his conviction.

DOJ seeks reinstatement of death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber

The U.S. Department of Justice is backing reinstatement of the death sentence for the Boston Marathon bomber in a brief filed Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chemerinsky: Precedent seems to matter little in the Roberts Court

How much weight does the Roberts Court give to precedent? This is the crucial underlying question now that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted review in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which puts the fate of Roe v. Wade before the justices. The case concerns a Mississippi law that prohibits abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

Divided federal appeals court affirms ruling against former state justice regarding juror’s Twitter use

An en banc federal appeals court split 6-6 Thursday in an appeal by a former West Virginia Supreme Court justice who was seeking a hearing on a juror’s Twitter use during his fraud trial.

Requirement for jury unanimity in serious cases isn’t retroactive, Supreme Court rules

The requirement for unanimous jury verdicts in serious criminal cases doesn’t apply retroactively to overturn final convictions on federal collateral review, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Removal of ‘Holy Spirit’ juror requires new trial for former lawmaker, en banc 11th Circuit rules

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida is entitled to a new trial in an alleged charity scam because a federal judge removed a juror for his "Holy Spirit" remark, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday in a 7-4 en banc decision.

SCOTUS should hear case in which shackled defendant reenacted murder, with no defense objection, Sotomayor says

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented Monday when the high court refused to hear a case in which a shackled defendant reenacted a murder during his sentencing, with no objection from his defense lawyer.

Can opening-the-door evidence doctrine violate the confrontation clause? SCOTUS will decide

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether trial testimony for a criminal defendant can open the door to rebuttal evidence that would otherwise be barred by the confrontation clause.

Evidence of jury racial bias in civil trial requires hearing, 6th Circuit says, citing ‘crackhead’ assumption

A federal trial court must hold a hearing to examine potential jury bias after one woman said jurors considered the Black plaintiff to be "a crackhead" and referred to his lawyers as the "Cosby Show," a federal appeals court has ruled.

Afternoon Briefs: Election lawyer referred for court discipline; public defender waiting list declared unconstitutional

Lawyer refers election lawyer for discipline

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg of the District of Columbia has referred a Minneapolis lawyer to a court grievance committee for possible discipline after…

Criminal defense lawyer challenges jury trial moratorium, argues cases can’t be paused indefinitely

A criminal defense lawyer has filed a speedy trial demand that challenges a federal court’s order suspending all jury trials until March 12.

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