Thursday, December 08, 2011

U.S. v. Tapia (9th Cir. - Dec. 8, 2011)

The Ninth Circuit decides a criminal appeal, and Judge Reinhardt is on the panel.  The Supreme Court grants certiorari and unanimously reverses.  The case goes back down to the Ninth, and Judge Reinhardt writes the opinion.

Classic story, right?  So you obviously know what transpired.  That crazy Ninth Circuit panel gave relief to a criminal defendant, the Supreme Court reversed, and now Judge Reinhardt's try to save his leftie opinion by circumventing the Supreme Court's reversal.  Right?


Here, the Ninth Circuit denied relief.  The Supreme Court did indeed unanimously reverse.  Holding that the Ninth Circuit was wrong -- that the district court might well have erred.  And, on remand, Judge Reinhardt (and the rest of the panel) holds that, yep, there was error.  Thanks, Supreme Court.

This will, of course, show up on the statistics as yet another opinion by the Ninth Circuit reversed by the Supreme Court, as further purported proof that the liberal Ninth Circuit is out of step with the rest of the country (as well as the Supreme Court).  The truth, of course, is slightly more complicated.

P.S. - This is the second Tapia case the Ninth Circuit decided this week.  I discussed the earlier one here.