Monday, October 26, 2015

Crittenden v. Chappell (9th Cir. - Oct. 26, 2015)

It's an AEDPA death penalty habeas case.  The question is whether the prosecutor improperly used a peremptory challenge to dismiss the only African-American in the juror pool.

Judge Fisher writes the majority opinion.  Judge McKeown dissents.  Can you guess the outcome?

Conviction reversed.

It'll be a struggle to read the entire 65-page (single-spaced) opinion and dissent.  But it's worth it.

That said, I'd be extraordinarily surprised were this the end of the story.  There will be, I strongly suspect, an en banc call.  And, if it prevails, a split opinion (IMHO) on the merits.  (Depending, of course, on the draw.)

And review by the Supreme Court is distinctly possible as well.  Notwithstanding the fact that this is an exceptionally fact-specific case.

Stay tuned.  But in the meantime, a great discussion by both sides.  Of a very important issue.