THE GERRIDOS PLEAD GUILTY TO KIDNAPPING AND RAPE OF JAYCEE DUGARD

The on again off again guilty plea of Phillip and Nancy Garrido for kidnapping and rape of Jaycee Dugard finally happened yesterday in Placerville, California. Dugard was kidnapped outside her home while she was on the way to school in 1991 when she was 11 years old and held for eighteen years. When she was found she was living in a shack behind the Garrido’s Antioch residence with the two children who were fathered by Phillip Garrido. Phillip Garrido plead […] Read more »

DEATH PENALTY REVERSED FOR MUMIA ABU-JAMAL

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, granted Mumia Abu-Jamal’s writ of habeas corpus in so far as it reversed the sentence of death for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. After exhausting his remedies in the Pennsylvania state courts famed journalist Abu-Jamal, for the murder of Faulkner, filed a writ of habeas corpus in Federal Court challenging his conviction and the death penalty. The District Court and the Third Circuit reversed the sentence of death but upheld […] Read more »

NINTH CIRCUIT DENIES PAROLE TO OREGON INMATE

Douglas Miller was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to thirty years to life. Under Oregon law he applied for early parole after twenty years. It was denied and he filed a habeas in Federal court after exhausting his state court remedies. The Ninth Circuit denied his appeal. Following Ninth Circuit precedent it ruled that there is no Federal due process right to parole but that the Federal constitution guarantees that states will follow state derived due process rights. Thus […] Read more »

MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME COURT BANS SEARCHES BASED ON BURNT MARIJUANA ODOR

The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that as a result of decriminalization of marijuana the odor of burnt marijuana emanating from a car does not provide probable cause to search the vehicle or a reasonable suspicion to detain the people in the vehicle. Nor does it provide a basis for officers to order a passenger to exit the vehicle. Benjamin Cruz was seated in the front passenger seat of a friend’s car. The friend was in the driver’s seat and it […] Read more »

THIRD CIRCUIT APPROVES POST MIRANDA STATEMENT

In Florida v.Powell the Supreme Court decided, last year, that while there is a right to an attorney, under Miranda, both before and during an interrogation, merely telling a suspect that he had a right to an attorney before the commencement of an interrogation and not telling him/her that the right also covered the assistance of an attorney during the interrogation did not violate his/her rights under Miranda. The Court ruled that a logical person would feel that the attorney […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT DENIES PRISONERS MONETARY DAMAGES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE RLUIPA

The Supreme Court, yesterday, in Sossamon v. Texas held that prisoners are not entitled to monetary damages in litigation under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA). In 1993 Congress enacted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to provide “heightened statutory protection to religious exercise.” The Supreme Court found the act violated the Fourteenth Amendment in City of Boerne v. Flores. Congress then passed the RLUIPA based on the Spending Clause. No one questions the validity […] Read more »

BANNING BOOKS IN PRISON LIBRARIES

Yesterday we wrote about the Berkeley County Detention Center where South Carolina authorities ban all books besides the bible. While other jails may not ban books in quite the same drastic manner, the number of books being banned from prison libraries is increasing. In Connecticut a panel is reviewing the process used to approve books available in prison libraries and books such as In Cold Blood and Shakespearian plays may be removed if they are found to be too violent. […] Read more »

A CONSTITUTIONAL QUIZ

Today, we’ve got a quiz. How many violations of the Constitution can Berkeley County, South Carolina Sheriff Wayne DeWitt commit simultaneously? DeWit is responsible for the Berkeley County Detention Center, otherwise known as the county jail. At least until recently all books except for paperback copies of the Christian Bible were banned.That means the Jewish Torah and the Muslim Koran are banned. Also banned are novels, health books, books on law, etc. This may even exclude the constitution and the […] Read more »

WILL THE SUPREME COURT RECONSIDER UNITED STATES V. KNOTTS AND PROHIBIT WARRANTLESS GPS SEARCHES BY THE POLICE

The Department of Justice is urging the Supreme Court to take up the Fourth Amendment issue of Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Various courts have ruled on the constitutionality of the use of GPS without getting a warrant and rulings have come down on both sides of the issue, The Ninth and the Seventh Circuits have ruled it constitutional while the D. C. Circuit found it unconstitutional. Courts in New York, Massachusetts, Washington and Delaware have found it unconstitutional while courts […] Read more »

BARRY BONDS CONVICTED OF OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

The jury convicted Barry Bonds of obstruction of justice and it hung on three counts of perjury. The government will have a chance to retry the perjury counts but it may pass on another trial and be satisfied with the obstruction conviction. The indictment alleged that the obstruction was committed by evasive answers before the Grand Jury. Bond’s legal team has asked Judge Illston to throw out the conviction. Certainly a conviction for being evasive is a lot weaker without […] Read more »