Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Roundup

A few tidbits from around the legalsphere this morning: This blog post reports on a recent study from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). The study shows how the litigation of "small crimes" – crimes like loitering, driving with a suspended license, and dog leash violations – that still carry a prison sentence (!) are clogging the courts.

"Every year literally millions of accused misdemeanants, overwhelmingly those unable to hire private counsel, and disproportionately people of color, are denied their constitutional right to equal justice. And, taxpayers are footing the bill for these gross inefficiencies."
SentLaw: A Pennsylvania inmate who maintains his innocence asks to be executed by the State, having grown exhausted from having multiple appeals denied.

Grits for Breakfast has their take on the Houston Police Department crime lab fiasco: "This is another example of a "team spirit" mentality that contributes to many forensic-based false convictions. Houston crime lab workers apparently weren't acting as scientists seeking independent answers but considered themselves part of the prosecution's team, omitting lab results that might not favor the side they wanted to win."

Simple Justice has a thorough piece discussing what Obama should be looking for in his Supreme Court nominee, now that Justice Souter is retiring.

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