Saturday, February 24, 2007

Oh By the Way

Zblogger, aka "Major" Mori Goodbar (the author of this blog) has gotten a "job" and will be posting just bit less frequently than in previous weeks, for now. Please excuse the temporary absences from the blogosphere. And thank you for your support (!)

What motivates you? Why do you work? And what do you do in all that downtime afterwards?

Are you just happy sitting around, watching b**bs on the toobs?

Do something to help your neighbor, your community, your country.

Just say "No" to sloth.

Bring those troops home, for one.

And two, today, right now, help save the life of somebody in my little town of Brunswick Maryland: Crystal Downs (Please call 301-834-5100 for Crystal's story and how you can help save her life. Please.)


"Major" Mori On Rita,

The Texas style system allows for too much disparity, and does so by preserving unfettered discretion. This opens the door to too much liklihood of abuse(s) of that discretion.

The discretion must be bounded by some rules, aka guidelines, that are objectively reasonable and barring the "objective"(ness), at least reasonable to a reviewing court. Defendants, and the public held accountable to the laws, must know to a reasonable certainty what they are facing when they take a case to trial, vis a vis taking the plea. This mechanism or aim achieves the "uniformity" sought (which is impossible to achieve but a thing to seek after nevertheless). Obviously too much uniformity is something that needs to be avoided equally as much as too much discretion.

I would just add, after reviewing transcripts, that a presumption of reasonableness would not be the best way to handle this. De novo reasonableness review enables the courts to preserve the desired discretion, and avoids giving the appearance that district decisions would be presumptively upheld.

Also, that avoids the incongruous conclusion, or appearance of a conclusion, that the district court's findings of facts are given a presumption, where those findings were actually in the nature of "legal" conclusions derived from interpretation(s) of the guidelines. That is really what must be left up to reviewing courts to decide, de novo of course, as a matter of law. [Major Mori]

The oral argument transcripts for Rita are now available online. On a quick first read, something interesting jumped out at me. Justice Scalia seems to be constructing an argument that a specialized form of Sixth Amendment violation happens when appellate courts review sentences: [SLP, Ron Wright]

The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that an individual filing a civil rights lawsuit claiming a false arrest by police must sue within a time period that begins to run at the time of detention, not after any resulting conviction or sentence has been overturned. This requires plaintiffs to file considerably earlier than they would have preferred, and perhaps before their claim has matured or been strengthened through a successful appeal of a conviction.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority. There were two Justices in partial dissent. The case was Wallace v. Kato (05-1240, download here). In that case, the statute of limitations for filing a civil rights claim was two years, under Illinois law. [SCOTUSblog]

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