ABA Journal

Sixth Amendment

44 ABA Journal Sixth Amendment articles.

Video testimony violated defendant’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation, top state court rules

A recent decision on video testimony by the Missouri Supreme Court is raising questions about criminal convictions obtained using video testimony during the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Opening the door’ rule violated defendant’s rights under Sixth Amendment’s confrontation clause, SCOTUS says

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a New York’s “opening the door” rule violated a defendant’s rights under the Sixth Amendment’s confrontation clause.

Appeals court upholds admission of inmate’s Comedy Central interview at his death penalty trial

A trial judge didn’t err by admitting footage of an inmate’s conversation with a Comedy Central comedian during the penalty phase of the inmate’s murder trial, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled last week.

Supreme Court should reverse decision in Texas ineffective counsel case, ABA says

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals’ consideration of a Texas death row inmate’s case deviated from the U.S. Supreme Court’s prior instruction regarding ineffective assistance of counsel and conflicted with its precedents, the ABA told the Supreme Court on Thursday.

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.

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