Click to call 602-307-0808 24/7 Click Here for Free Consultation

US Supreme Court

Vast Majority of Americans unable to name any SCOTUS Justices

Vast Majority of Americans unable to name any SCOTUS Justices

In 2012 the US Supreme Court has made pivotal rulings on President Obamas health care law and Arizona SB1070 immigration law leading to numerous arm chair legal experts around the country. Even with all of this attention on the court and its rulings 2/3rds of Americans are unable to name a single justice, according to a recently released survey.

Of the Justices that people can name the most is Chief Justice John Roberts, but he only comes in correctly 20% of the time.

The least recognizable member is Justice Stephen Breyer with 3% with Kennedy(10%), Alito(5%), and Kagan(4%) also coming in with less than 10% of respondents identifying them.

Even Justices in the media spotlight are somewhere between nobody and the coat checker:
Antonin Scalia (16%)
Clarence Thomas (16%)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (13%)
Sonia Sotomayor (13%)

The study polled 1,000 American adults by telephone with a demographically diverse sample. The margin for error was around 3%.

It could be argued that is SCOTUS was televised then there would be a better understanding of the court. Of course then we would probably be talking less about the case and more about the style of their robes or the courts wood choice.

We have started giving our visitors more information about various Judges in Arizona: Tempe Judges and Scottsdale Judges.

U.S. Supreme Court will Hear “Obamacare” Debate

U.S. Supreme Court will Hear “Obamacare” Debate

Picture of the US Supreme Court Building from Outside

Image Credit to dbking

The Supreme Court has granted cert. to hear oral arguments about the constitutionality of the new healthcare law, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). The country is divided about the appropriateness of the law, and the Supreme Court will perhaps become the final decision-maker in determining whether this bill is allowed to stand. Both supporters and criticizers of the law are pressuring the Supreme Court to allow the debates to be televised, citing national importance as the justification. However, this would be a first for the Supreme Court and looks unlikely. Justice Kennedy is forecasted to be the deciding vote in this case when it is argued for a record 5.5 hours in March.
Shoutout to LegalTimes

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal from Phoenix Shooting

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal from Phoenix Shooting

Picture of guy getting arrested

Image Credit to ElvertBarnes

In 1991, Jonathan Doody was convicted of lining up numerous Buddhist priests, robbing them, and shooting them in the head. He was sentenced to multiple life sentences in prison. He was just 19 at the time. However, after years of incarceration, in 2008 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Doody’s confession to the crime based on the police officer’s violation of the Miranda requirement. Doody’s conviction rested solely on his confession to the police.

The Court threw out the confession because although the police had given Doody his Miranda warnings, they did not cease questioning when he refused to answer and did not allow him access to his parents or an attorney. Doody was questioned for 6 hours without any break, and finally at 2:30 in the morning he confessed. His attorney, and many others, claim he falsely confessed because at that point he had no other option.

The Court of Appeals ordered that Doody’s confession be thrown out of the case, and Doody receive a new trial without the confession. The prosecution appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court who rejected to hear that argument, allowing the 9th Circuit decision to stand. However, it is unlikely that the prosecution will be able to convict Doody without that confession, and he likely will be released. He has served almost 20 years in prison already.

Supreme Court tells 9th Circuit Tie Will Not go to Defendant

Supreme Court tells 9th Circuit Tie Will Not go to Defendant

Picture of the US Supreme Court Building from Outside

Image Credit to dbking

Despite the 9th Circuit’s third determination that there was not enough evidence to convict Smith of killing her infant grandson based on Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered that Smith’s conviction be reinstated.

In the late 1990’s, during the trial of Smith, the Prosecution presented 3 expert witnesses who stated that the death of the infant was due to SBS. The defense presented two experts, one who testified that SBS was not the cause of death, and another who testified that SIDS was instead the cause of death. Despite the conflicting testimony, the California jury concluded that there was enough evidence of SBS and convicted. Upon a federal appeal, three times the Circuit Court in California ruled in favor of the defendant, finding that there was “no evidence to permit an expert conclusion one way or another.” Twice the Supreme Court overruled the Circuit Court and required them to review their decision. This third time, the Supreme Court ended the back and forth, and required that her conviction be reinstated. Smith, who has been living in a run-down shack in Los Angeles for five years, must now return back to prison. The Supreme Court cites the reason for the reversal as “the Circuit Court’s duty not to disturb the jury verdict simply because it would have weighed the evidence differently itself.”

While the role of the American jury is one of the most important and something that we hold sacred to a free society, we must not forget that juries, who often have never heard in detail gruesome facts about a crime or a death, sometimes think with their emotions rather than with cool intellect. Judges hear all sorts of cases and have trained themselves (usually) on how to judge the facts in an unbiased manner and put all the emotions to the side. Thus in a case like this, where the medical facts of an innocent child’s death are at issue, I would rather have my fate governed by a judge who is used to hearing details of this sort rather than a jury. No doubt that Smith would agree with me. However, in her case, the Supreme Court has spoken and is letting the jury’s verdict stand, regardless of any judge’s opinion to the contrary. In this case, with two decision-makers each coming out a different way, the tie has not gone to the defendant.

To Tase or not to Tase, Still Uncertain

Police officers often use tasers to, in the words of an officer, “subdue an aggressive suspect” or to “protect the officer’s safety.” However, there are many situations where members of the general public find the use of the stun gun unjustified, and a result of the officer’s “power-trip” or laziness. As more and more officers are equipped with tasers, there are rising numbers of “excessive force” claims occurring against police officers. Recently, the Ninth Circuit (which embraces Arizona) held in Brooks v. Seattle and Mattos v. Agarano that the use of tasers to subdue suspects was excessive. In Brooks, the suspect was tased because she refused to get out of her car after being arrested for refusing to sing her speeding ticket. In Mattos, the suspect was tased because she stood between her husband and an officer who was trying to arrest him for domestic violence. However, it is still unclear when and where the tasing of suspects will be appropriate. To see if your tasing might be a violation of your 4th Amendment rights, contact us.

12
Click Here for Free ConsultationComparison Questions to Ask when Hiring a Lawyer

[contact-form-7 id="8868" title="Exit Intent"]