Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A capital victory and a capital embarassment

Congrats to Rob Owen and Jordan Steiker of the UT-Austin Capital Punishment Clinic for winning punishment-phase relief from the egregious Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for Robert Tennard, after the US Supreme Court overruled the Fifth Circuit's earlier refusal to permit consideration of Tennard's 67 IQ. Once again, CrimProf blog has the story.

The same blog post discusses another instance where the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals thumbed its nose at the US Supreme Court, this time in the face of a prior bench-slapping in the case. "The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief to Laroyce Smith, holding that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision finding error in his case did not warrant relief because Smith had not shown sufficient harm resulting from the error. In Smith's case, the Supreme Court had found that the sentencing instructions prevented jurors from considering Smith's difficult background, low I.Q., and learning disabilities." Doc Berman may think the Supreme Court's attention to these cases is a "capital waste of time," but somebody's got to rein in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which truly is a statewide embarassment. Small wonder Texas Monthly called it Texas' worst court.

Good lawyering. Good blogging.

1 comment:

Celtictexan said...

Just for curiosity sake I wonder what your opinion would have been had the case centered around the Texas court supporting a partial birth abortion, and being overrode?