Concurring opinion key to understanding of retroactivity
Washington, DC (September 3, 2003) -- E.E. "Bo" Edwards, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, today issued the following statement in response to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision in Summerlin v. Stewart, which made the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Ring v. Arizona (finding death sentences by judges, rather than juries, unconstitutional) retroactive in its application:
"In Ring, the Supreme Court focused on the historical importance of the role of juries as the conscience of the community. The right of a criminal defendant to place his fate in the hands of his or her peers is a key underpinning of our criminal justice system.
"The Ninth Circuit confronted the cases of death row inmates who had been sentenced by judges, not juries, whose appeals were complete before Ring was decided. The court held that the timing of the appeal was not determinative, and applied Ring retroactively. However, it is significant to note the concurring opinion of Judge Stephen Reinhardt to understand why the government's arguments to the contrary are both unreasonable and wrong.
"Judge Reinhardt's concurrence very eloquently points out how arbitrary considerations often determine who receives the death penalty. But the arbitrariness must end somewhere. No one can legitimately argue that allowing an unconstitutional death sentence to be carried out, simply because the appeals process has run, is not arbitrary in a most cruel, callous, and unjustifiable way."
Edwards is a criminal defense lawyer in Nashville. He can be reached at (615) 356-5037.
A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
Modern Digital Evidence & Technologies in Criminal Cases
Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
Top Shelf DUI Defenses: The Law, The Science, The Techniques (2021)
If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
Defending Modern Drug Cases (2021)
From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.
NACDL Communications Department
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.