Thursday, March 15, 2007

In Re Sheena K. (Cal. Supreme Ct. - May 15, 2007)

"What?! I've already basically finished writing this 21-page opinion regarding the constitutional validity of various probation conditions, alongside some forfeiture issues, and have also gotten all of the other justices signed up. Do you really want me to rip the thing up just because the defendant is now dead (and hence the case moot)?! No way. I'm going to crank it out anyway. You can't stop me."

That's basically what Chief Justice George says here.

At least the opinion is a permanent post-death memorial to Sheena K., who was a ward of the court and who died shortly before her 20th birthday. From circumstances which, though unmentioned in the opinion, I feel quite confident were far from good. Not that dying at 19 is ever good, mind you.

For that reason, although the Court always seals the name of the relevant juvenile in such proceedings, and I don't ever publish them, I think an exception is appropriate here. The respondent's name was Sheena Latrice King. May you be in a better place, Sheena.

P.S. - This is also another downside of holding onto cases for years, California Supreme Court. The briefs were complete in 2004. It took you three years to write an opinion. Sometimes people die when it takes you years and years to adjudicate a case. Not to mention the fact that their legal status remains in limbo the whole time. Speed it up, my friends.