Saturday, October 07, 2006

Texas high criminal court embarrasing for state

Lyle Denniston of SCOTUS Blog is uninmpressed with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals' decision in Smith vs. Texas, yet another capital murder case, this time out of Dallas, in which the CCA thumbed its nose at the US Supreme Court. The Supremes agreed to hear the case again after they'd already considered it once in 2004, almost certainly with the intention to overturn the CCA. This is now beyond repetitive for the Supreme Court to slap down the Texas high criminal court for activist pro-prosecution rulings; it's becoming routine. Wrote Denniston:
The Texas court, on remand, created and applied "a harmless error analysis that had never before been applied in this case or context.... What the state court has done in this case is flout this Court's interpretation of [constitutional] guarantees. Such an action should not be permitted to stand, for it undermines the Constitution, our federal system, and this Court's role in the enforcement of limits imposed by both."
What an embarrassment - another example of why the Court of Criminal Appeals is widely considered Texas' worst court, a title for which, I might add, there is significant competition. A commenter on Doug Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy blog suggested the court should resign en masse. At this point, that probably would be best.

For you legal eagles, SCOTUS Blog posted Duke Prof. Erwin Chemerinsky's amicus brief and here's the Supreme Court's earlier ruling in the case.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Failure to spell "embarrasing" correctly embarrassing to Grits. ;)