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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

SILENCE IS THOMAS & PRYOR LETS LOOSE

This month it will be ten years since Justice Clarence Thomas asked a question from the bench during oral arguments. And no, it was not to ask directions to the head. The NY Times has an article on the silence here. 

PRYOR SHOWS NO RESTRAINT. 

Our colleague who blogs the Miami-Federal scene, the ineffable DOM, has this post about Judge Pryor's dissent in a 2254 case. The more we think about it, the more it bothers us. 

Pryor was upset when Judge Jordan and visiting judge Haikala gave a state court petitioner a second federal habeas review. Here is part of what Pryor wrote:

Ace Patterson—a child rapist, kidnapper, and burglar—won the habeas lottery today. The majority gives him a second chance to collaterally attack his convictions in federal court, seventeen years after his trial and nine years after he filed his first federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Most state prisoners are not so lucky, as the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act prohibits the filing of a “second or successive” petition for a writ of habeas corpus. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b). 


So the cat is out of the bag. 
Apparently if Ace was arrested and convicted for stealing from parking meters (Ala Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke) then Pryor may have joined with the majority. 
At least Pryor hasn't shied from how he makes decisions. He looks at the crime, and if it's heinous enough, he decides to deny relief. Kudos for telling the truth, but that is NOT a judge's job. Judges expect jurors to give any defendant a presumption of innocence. Judges expect jurors not to make a finding of guilt merely because the charge is serious. 

Under Pryor's analysis he would have summarily denied relief  to  Richard Jewell who was for a time considered the main suspect in planting a bomb at the Atlanta Olympics, until it turned out he was innocent. 

Pryor should not sit on any more criminal cases in the 11th circuit. He has by his own words demonstrated a bias against any defendant convicted of a serious crime.  If that is the way the judge feels, so be it. But it disqualifies him from sitting on criminal cases where once he sees the seriousness of the crime he works to find a reason to affirm the conviction (Harmless error anyone?)

"The defendant raises serious errors in his trial. However, based on the heinous nature of his crimes, we deny relief.

Visiting Judge Haikala had this to say in concurrence and she hit the nail on the head:

There is no doubt that the conduct that gave rise to Mr. Patterson’s conviction and sentence is heinous, but that conduct has no bearing
upon the legal standard that governs the issue before the Court. As the United States Supreme Court wrote in Chessman v. Teets: “On many occasions this Court has found it necessary to say that the requirements of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment must be respected, no matter how heinous the crime in question and no matter how guilty an accused may ultimately be found to be after guilt has been established in accordance with the procedure demanded by the Constitution.” 354 U.S. 156, 165 (1957). 



Give Judge Pryor props for at least writing what we've all suspected all along. 

See You In Court. 

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Haha, you just copied David's post.

Rumpole said...

Can you read?
First, I credited David with the post. Second, (assuming you have great difficulty with reading comprehension) having copied portions of the opinion that
David posted, I then wrote my own criticism of Judge Pryor.
Keep working on those reading skills. Persistence pays off.

Anonymous said...

Jason Bloch how much money did you raise in the last quarter from your desperate law firm establishment buddies ? How are your efforts going in the Haitian community ?....You are going to lose there as well!

Anonymous said...

As for Jason Bloch, to me, it seems like he is running a efficient, honest and good campaign. He looks to have lots of support from all different parts of the community. It doesn't look like it is just the Haitian community. Why bring that up on a post that deals with dissenting legal opinion? It looks like someone out there is jealous….;)