Wednesday, October 09, 2013

U.S. v. Cortes (9th Cir. - Oct. 9, 2013)

The Ninth Circuit reverses.  Which can't make the district court (Judge Benitez) especially happy.  But Judge Silverman's opinion simultaneously says that the district court was in a tough position.  That the instructions here were nearly accurate.  That the district court didn't have the benefit of subsequent precedent.  That the Ninth Circuit's cases on the relevant issue were themselves confusing.

And then Judge Silverman bothers to repeatedly formulate -- and write down -- the proper instructions that should be given at the retrial on remand.  Verbatim.

Too many judges are either (1) mean, or (2) unwilling to take the time to craft practical guidance (e.g., jury instructions) for the district court.  Bravo to Judge Silverman for doing otherwise.