Tuesday, March 27, 2007

U.S. v. Howard (9th Cir. - March 27, 2007)

No. I mean, yes. Okay, I really mean it this time. Yes.

That's basically what Chief Judge Schroeder says in this long-running dispute regarding whether everyone who initially appears before a federal magistrate judge in Los Angeles will be shackled.

Judge Schroeder originally wrote an opinion -- back in November 2005 -- that held that the uniform shackling policy implemented in the Central District was impermissible, over the dissent of Judge Clifton. (For what it's worth, it took over a year after oral argument for this opinion -- in a case involving an interlocutory appeal -- to be published.) Then, a year later, in September 2006, the panel withdrew its original opinion and filed a new opinion that upheld the uniform shackling policy, albeit somewhat meekly.

Then, earlier today, the panel withdrew its amended opinion and filed a new -- and presumably final -- opinion that again upheld the uniform shackling policy, this time a little more strongly.

Third time's a charm?