Category Supreme Court

Indian Child Welfare Act and the Supreme Court

An important case involving the Cherokee Nation and the Indian Child Welfare Act is being appealed to the United States Supreme Court from South Carolina.  Indians tend to fare pretty badly in the Supreme Court, particularly in the last 30-40 years.  Hopefully, this time the Justices will instead do the right thing and preserve and […]

Mental Retardation and the Death Penalty

In the 2002 case Atkins v. Virginia, the US Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional to impose the death penalty on the mentally retarded (as opposed to those who are mentally incompetent to stand trial in the first place).  In the case of Marvin Wilson, Texas is apparently trying to get around that ruling […]

Are Criminal Trials “Vanishing”?

A short but thought-provoking article examining whether or not our Constitutional right to trial by jury in criminal cases is slowly disappearing.

Life Without Parole for Juvenile Offenders

The US Supreme Court recently ruled that mandatory life sentences for juvenile offenders are unconstitutional. Grits for Breakfast discusses the implications of that ruling on Texas.

Do I Have To Talk to the Police?

No.  If you are pulled over while driving, you are required to provide your driver license, proof of insurance and registration.  Otherwise, if you are detained by an officer for questioning, you are required to identify yourself and provide proof of your identity.  DO NOT LIE TO THE POLICE ABOUT YOUR IDENTITY.  It’s a crime […]

Can I Really Get Arrested for a Traffic Ticket?

Short answer, yes.  In case out of Texas, Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, the US Supreme Court upheld the power of the police to arrest you for any offense, even traffic tickets punishable only by a fine (like the seatbelt law).  Worse yet, in a more recent case, Florence v. Burlington, the Court held […]

Weakening the Sixth Amendment

An article from Scott Lemieux about a recent Supreme Court decision that weakens the right of criminal defendants to confront witnesses against them at trial, specifically expert witnesses called by the State.  I agree with his conclusion that this creates a fairly easy backdoor way to prevent Defendants from challenging scientific evidence introduced by the […]