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.
Pattern Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses: A Trial Strategy & Resource Guide
In a criminal trial, cross-examination of the prosecution’s forensic expert may make the difference between victory or defeat.
2020 Sample Motions Collection Update
NACDL’s 2020 Sample Motions Collection is the follow-up to our wildly popular 2019 Sample Motions Collection and contains the newest and most recent additions to our ever-expanding Sample Motions library.
State v. Stone - A Case Study on Child Sexual Molestation & Sexual Battery
The criminal defense attorney tasked with defending such a case has to be prepared to not only show reasonable doubt, but to answer this question: If it did not happen, how is it that the child believes it did happen?
POZNER ON CROSS: Advanced Cross of Experts & Officers in DUI Cases
It’s not your strong opening argument. It’s not how many of your impassioned objections the judge sustains. It’s not even how you tie your theory of the case together with a dazzling closing statement bow. What wins your trial is your cross.
This is a sponsored ad
Generating Qualified Leads for NACDL Attorneys
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 justice system.