Thursday, May 31, 2007

People v. Kinney (Cal. Ct. App. - May 31, 2007)

This case might make a good student law review article.

Defendant exercises his right to represent himself at his first criminal trial and makes various statements during closing argument that, let's say, are less than well-advised (e.g., are incriminating). Assume that first trial ends in a mistrial -- or, as here, the conviction is reversed on appeal. During the retrial, the prosecution wants to introduce into evidence defendant's statements during closing argument in the first trial.

Permissible? Or a violation of (or impermissible burden upon) the guy's right to represent himself?

For comparison's sake, the United States Supreme Court held in Simmons that a defendant's incriminating statements in support of a motion to suppress on Fourth Amendment grounds (e.g., an admission that he owned the suitcase in which the drugs were found) weren't admissible at trial, holding that it's "intolerable that one constitutional right should have to be surrendered in order to assert another.”

What do you think? Justice Morrison thinks -- indeed, holds -- that it's permissible to introduce the closing argument into evidence. No constitutional violation. And writes a decent defense of that position.


On a (much) less intellectual level, if you're wondering what the street price of methamphetamine is in Placer County -- perhaps you're comparision shopping amongst dealers -- Justice Morrison's got that for you as well: "[T]he market rate for methamphetamine in Placer County was a fifth of a gram for $20; .875 of a gram (a “half-teener”) for $40 to $50; a sixteenth or 1.75 grams for $80 to $100; an eight-ball, 3.5 grams for $140 to $150; a fourth of an ounce, 7 grams, for $240 to 250; a half-ounce, 14 grams, for $300 to $400; and an ounce, 28 grams, for $600 to $ 800. The price depended on the quantity available and quality."

Thanks for that, Fred.