JUDGE ALLEGES CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN JAYCEE LEE DUGARD CASE

Since Nancy Garrido, who along with her husband, Phillip, is charged with kidnapping Jaycee Lee Dugard in South Lake Tahoe 18 years ago had insufficient money to hire her own attorney the court appointed Gilbert Maines to represent her. Last week El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister removed Maines from the case after the judge received a claim that Maines made drunken statements at his country club in which he allegedly discussed plans to write a book after […] Read more »

NEW YORK COURT OF APPEALS UPHOLDS ADMISSION OF DNA REPORTS DESPITE MELENDEZ-DIAZ CLAIM

The New York Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Michael J. Brown on sexual assault charges over claims that the admission of of a DNA report processed by a subcontractor laboratory to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) through the testimony of a forensic biologist from OCME violated the right of confrontation as discussed in Melendez-Diaz v Massachusetts. At trial there was evidence that the defendant followed a nine year old girl into the apartment house of […] Read more »

CONSERVATIVES JOIN LIBERALS TO FIGHT THE OVER CRIMINALIZATION OF AMERICAN SOCIETY

Now that the government is prosecuting many business executives for criminal offenses an article in the New York Times points out that conservative leaders are joining with criminal defense attorneys and people on the left in arguing that the government has exceeded its power by using criminal laws to intrude upon the private lives of individuals. Conservatives are objecting to the excessive power used by Federal agents and courts to pursue individuals charged with criminal offenses. Conservatives such as Reagan […] Read more »

PEOPLE V. LYNNE STEWART, ET AL, PART III

This is the final post in a series on the Second Circuit affirmation of the the conviction of Lynne Stewart, Mohammed Yousry, and Ahmed Abdel Sattar for defrauding the government by violating the SAMs for Sheikh Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Rahman. We began the series on Thursday with a discussion of the appellate court discussion of the sentencing of Lynne Stewart. On Saturday we looked at other issues that were on appeal. Today we will look at some of policy […] Read more »

PEOPLE V. LYNNE STEWART, ET AL, PART II

Thursday we began a series on the Second Circuit of Court of Appeals decision in United States v. Sattar (Stewart; Yousry). Today we shall continue the series by discussing some of the issues faced by the appellate court. The prosecution stemmed from Lynne Stewart’s representation of Sheikh Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Rahman who was convicted of various terrorist crimes resulting from the investigation of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He was sentenced to life in prison. While […] Read more »

PEOPLE V. LYNNE STEWART, ET AL, PART I

This is the first in a series of posts on United States v. Sattar (Stewart; Yousry). Lynne Stewart is a well known New York City criminal defense attorney. She represented Sheikh Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Rahman who was charged with planning the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Rahman was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. While in prison he was considered a high security risk and was subject to “Special Administrative Measures” (SAMs) to prevent him from […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT REINFORCES STRICKLAND STANDARD FOR INCOMPETENCE OF COUNSEL

In Wong v. Belmontes the Supreme Court reinforced the Strickland standard for competence of counsel. Citing Stickland it stated: To show deficient performance, Belmontes must establish that “counsel’s representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness.” Id., at 688. In light of “the variety of circumstances faced by defense counsel [and] the range of legitimate decisions regarding how best to represent a criminal defendant,” the performance inquiry necessarily turns on “whether counsel’s assistance was reasonable considering all the circumstances.” Id., […] Read more »

ALLEGED 9/11 MASTERMIND TO BE TRIED IN NEW YORK CITY

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that five detainees, including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed will be tried in New york City and another five will be tried by military tribunals, including Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is accused of planning the bombing the U. S, navy destroyer, the USS Cole in Yemen. The trial of Mohammed promises to be the biggest trial since the OJ trial. It carries risks and benefits for the United States. The difference between military tribunals […] Read more »

JUVENILE INJUSTICE–FLORIDA STYLE

The Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of sentencing people for crimes, other than homicide, committed as minors, to life without parole. In the entire world there are 109 people in prison for crimes, other than homicide, sentenced to life without parole. All 109 are in the United States and 77 of the 109 are in Florida. The two cases currently before the Supreme Court are from Florida. One involved the rape of a 72 year old woman and the […] Read more »

JAMIE RYAN WEIS CHALLENGES FAILURE OF GEORGIA TO PROVIDE COUNSEL IN CAPITAL CASE

Lawyers for Jamie Ryan Weis argued before the Georgia Supreme Court that his case should be dismissed or that the State should be prohibited from seeking the death penalty due to the failure of the state to provide him with counsel. Weis is charged with the 2006 murder of a Pike County woman during a burglary. Like many defendants charged with capital offenses in Georgia Weis has gone without counsel for a lengthy periods of time since the state’s budget […] Read more »