The Elections are over, the punditry is over and done with, the new Congress is set to convene. Whether the Democrats will be able to do anything the Republicans could not do is the question: You all know the old saw about the new broom. Just one more
thing, “going commando” is the new big thing. Britney does it, and George Clooney says he never does, unless he is “fully waxed.” This is where the picture is worth many thousands of words.
Thecurrent issue brings you several new cases in the area of habeascorpus of course, a few books I've read and reviewed, and a mishmash of other stuff. We'll keep following the thread of AEDPAunconstitutionality and the Irons case, particularlyinteresting because of the likely wide impact it could have, if it has legs. Texas Parole issues are of special interest to me and a
reader has asked about it, so I'm going to do a bit more reading and focus on it in the January issue. Meanwhile, you can pull up an article by Doc Berman on the future of parole at Sentencing
Law and Policy (the blog). The courts have been taking on issues of procedural default, actual innocence and newly acquired evidence, independent state-law grounds and
exhaustion of remedies, terrorism habeas cases, IAC (ineffective assistance of counsel) and Brady violations and, 42 U.S.C. 1983 which I find interesting as a method of private enforcement of the law, aka the “constitutional tort,” government secrets and electronic surveillance.
Mostly, true to the form and intent of AEDPA, courts are denying relief. The few cases in which the writ is granted continue to be instructive gems.
The federal government recently settled a wrongful arrest case for 2 Mil with an Oregon man but not all cases are so easily won, or lost, if you can look at this from the point of view of the taxpayer. It is not often noticed that Americans will pay every last penny of that settlement via taxes. The other thing we don't take notice of enough is abuse of prosecutors' powers. Our not noticing, together with a favorable climate in the courts has resulted in virtually unfettered prosecutor “discretion” and egregious abuses that go along with that power. We'll learn more about that in this issue.