Monthly Archives: October 2012

And I Was Right

You might remember that I recently commented on the Drew Peterson trial. I was particularly intrigued by the public statements the jurors made and I suggested that we might well see an ineffective assistance of counsel claim under Strickland.

You see, after a heated dispute with co-counsel, one of Peterson’s attorneys called a witness who said some really harmful stuff…stuff that jurors openly acknowledged played a key role in their decision to convict. There’s no real doubt in my mind this was a very bad strategy decision because the chances it would backfire were really high. And unsurprisingly, backfire it did.

Also unsurprisingly, Peterson has new attorneys now and they just filed a motion arguing for a new trial due to ineffective assistance. The Tribune has more here, including a rather juicy video. Another article on the topic here.

When I’ve had a chance to look at the actual legal filings, I may write more on it. For now, suffice it to say my prediction was correct.

-Zachary Cloud

Some Columbus Day Updates

I am enjoying this beautiful holiday by taking some time to catch up on blogging. Here are some brief updates that I would have written on already if I had time.

1. Still no judgment in that cool British habeas case.

By now, you might know I’m a complete habeas nut and follow the law of habeas corpus on both sides of the pond. You might also know that there’s a really fascinating UK case, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs & anor v Rahmatullah, I’ve been watching with a keen eye. See here, here, and here. Last time I wrote on the case, the UK Supreme Court had just heard oral arguments in the matter. Well, I’m still patiently waiting for them to hand down a judgment but nothing has come yet. When it does, you can be sure I’ll be posting about it!

2. Intriguing scholarship on the English Constitution.

It’s not uncommon to hear reference to England’s ‘constitution.’ As you might know, the English constitution is unwritten. Or is it? Legal scholars in the UK have been wrestling with questions about what the nature, scope, authority, &c. of the English constitution is. Today, I learned of an intriguing new article by Tarunabh Khaitan at Oxford entitled “The ‘constitution’ as a Statutory Term.” Mr. Khaitan also has a helpful post at UK Constitutional Law Group, which is where I first learned of the new paper. I am looking forward to giving the article a read.

3. Interesting US habeas news.

As I understand it, there was a notable case before the US Supreme Court last week regarding the appropriate amount of deference due to states under § 2254(d)(1) when they remain silent on questions of federal law. The case is Johnson v. Williams and here is the infamous Lyle Denniston’s preview at SCOTUSblog. Here is Lyle’s take, post oral argument as well as Tom Goldstein’s reactions (both to the oral arguments and Lyle’s post). I really need to sit down and read through the materials, listen to oral arguments, &c.

At very first blush, I fail to see what makes this case so different from prior cases addressing ‘silence’ of a state court. No doubt, there is one but I just haven’t gone through the materials enough to see the nuance. When I’ve had a chance to review Johnson in more depth, I may report back with my take.

4. Other happenings

There are plenty of other happenings that I’d love to write about but won’t. Some local, some national, and some international. There’s just not enough time in the day, sadly. Until more free time comes my way…

-Zachary Cloud