Thursday, March 24, 2005

Brown v. Payton

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ruled against us 5-3 (Rehnquist not voting) in a death penalty case out of California known as Brown v. Payton. I am not a lawyer and I cannot immediately fathom whether this ruling will have broad implications in terms of how many other people on death row it will affect.

However, there is one troubling note. We lost Breyer to the majority. As my friend Karl Keys points out, this could be the first time we have lost Breyer on an issue relating to the applicability of AEDPA (that stands for Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, although it drives me nutty that they left the T out. It should be ATEDPA.)

Anyway, I thought I'd pitch this one over to Lonely Abolitionist, who has written an essay explaining what was at issue in this ruling and why the court got it wrong.

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