Thursday, December 24, 2009

People v. Taylor (Cal. Ct. App. - Dec. 24, 2009)

I'm no sentimentalist. But the case has been pending since 1996, and it's now Christmas Eve. Can't the California Supreme Court wait a couple of days to tell Keith Taylor that he's going to die?

Seems pretty Grinch-like to lay the hammer down on Christmas Eve.

Can I also just say that I had no idea until today that you should never believe what the California Supreme Court says? Check out this docket sheet. In January 2004, the Public Defender asks for more time to file the brief (not surprisingly), and the California Supreme Court says "Yes," but also expressly says that -- at most -- it's only going to grant six more extensions, for a total of 315 days, so the brief has to be done by February 2005.

But then, in July 2004, after granting four extensions, the Supremes say: "Okay, I know we said no way we'd let the thing slide after February 2005, but we'll change that to May 2005."

Then, in January 2005, after granting seven extensions, it's: "Okay, make that July 2005. But that's it."

Then, in May 2005, after nine extensions, it's: "Now we're making it November 2005. But we totally mean it this time. No more. Really."

Then, in October 2005, a month before the brief is due, and after twelve extensions, it's: "We'll make it February 2006. But really, that's it. We're not granting any more."

Then, in February 2006, two days before the brief is due, in response to counsel's fourteenth extension request, the Supremes grant yet another extension. And the opening brief gets filed over a month later.

I need not go into similar detail regarding the responsive and reply briefs, except to say that the same type of thing happens again. The California Supreme Court says that a brief is due, tells counsel in no uncertain terms that no further extensions will be granted, and then does exactly what it said it wouldn't do.

"Death is different," I guess.