Monthly Archives: June 2012

On Losing My Voice And Random Updates

Yea, yea…I know. I haven’t blogged for a while…for shame! I may just be a summer law clerk but I still keep really busy. Blah blah blah…

Anyhow, I seem to be losing my voice, which means I can’t talk peoples’ ears off like I normally might. This is loss of voice is especially problematic given that I have to be in court about every day and speak a lot—to clients, to the prosecutors, to the judge. But there’s an upside: I’m inclined to blog in my spare time.

So, what’s new, you ask?

1. Well, the health care cases are coming down tomorrow. I might post on it; I might not. While I have some interest in the matters, I know the issue is going to be discussed to death in the blawgosphere and the mainstream media. I’m not sure I’ll have anything to add but I reserve the right to blog on the decision(s).

2. It’s been approximately a year since Turner v. Rogers came down and I’m going to take a look into how lower courts have been treating the decision. Might turn into a full-length article…might turn into just a brief update. Again, we’ll see.

3. Recent good news for defendants! As you might have already heard, the US Supreme Court held that the Fair Sentencing Act applies to convicted defendants awaiting sentencing when the Act was passed. To make a long story short, it used to be that federal defendants convicted of possessing crack cocaine were sentenced at a 100:1 disparity in comparison to those convicted of possessing powder cocaine. Congress changed that in September 2010. It was unclear if defendants awaiting sentencing when the Act passed would get the benefits of it. SCOTUS says YES. See Dorsey v. United States

The Court also found 14-year old juveniles sentenced to life without parole to be cruel and unusual punishment. See Miller v. Alabama

And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the “blockbuster” Confrontation Clause ruling in Williams v. Illinois. Generally, it looks like a loss for defendants but It’s a complicated decision and I’m still digesting exactly what it means. For a pretty good analysis, see Jeff Fisher’s analysis here. Jeff’s a go-to guy on all-things Confrontation Clause so I’m inclined to trust his judgment on this.

4. I have a backlog of posts I want to do. On the list are the Legal Fiction chapters and a piece about the psychology of presuming guilt. Hoping to do some work on these in the near future but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how busy I keep with my current job so I’m not making promises.

I think that’s all. Random update complete.

-Zachary Cloud