Tagged: Sixth Amendment

When Is It Unfair to Get a Fair Trial?

  “You are saying it was unfair to have a fair trial?” That was a fair question put by Justice Kennedy at oral argument today. The issue is whether a criminal defendant can be deprived of the effective assistance of counsel (for Sixth Amendment purposes) when a lawyer screwup prevents...

On Deportation and Duty

… Well no, the rule doesn’t suck. We do not have to all of a sudden become experts in immigration law. We do not have to parse the insanities and inanities of that highly complex field. All we have to do is advise our clients that there is a risk of deportation. And we’d better not tell them there is no risk, when there really could be one.

This really is nothing new. It’s what we’re supposed to have been doing all along. …

Supreme Court Smackdown

“Why is this case here, except as an opportunity to upset Melendez-Diaz?” So wondered Justice Scalia during oral argument a couple weeks back in the case of Briscoe v. Virginia. For some background, see our previous post on this case here. Briefly, the Supreme Court held last year in Melendez-Diaz...

Lab Report’s Not Enough — Chemist Must Testify

The Supreme Court this morning ruled that it’s a violation of the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause for the prosecution in a drug case to simply admit a sworn lab report, without the chemist’s testimony, to prove that the drugs were controlled substances. This is what we predicted, of course, making...

Suppressed Jailhouse Confessions Allowed for Impeachment

The Supreme Court ruled this morning that a confession obtained in violation of the 6th Amendment right to counsel is still admissible on cross-examination to impeach a defendant who testified that someone else did it. Writing for the 7-2 majority in Kansas v. Ventris today was the always-entertaining Justice Scalia....