Thursday, May 19, 2005
United States v. Green, 1st Cir., No. 05-1014, 5/12/05
A federal trial judge in a capital case has no power before trial to authorize the empanelment of one jury that has not been "death-qualified" to serve at the guilt phase and a separate death-qualified jury to sit at the penalty phase, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled May 12. A provision in the Federal Death Penalty Act that allows the empanelment of a separate penalty-phase jury if the guilt-phase jury has been dismissed for "good cause" does not provide authority for a court to order separate guilt- and penalty-phase juries to avoid systemic problems associated with having death-qualified jurors making guilt determinations, the court held. More details . . .
United States v. Kwan, 9th Cir., No. 03-50315, 5/12/05
A criminal defense attorney who failed to warn a client who had pleaded guilty that Congress had changed immigration law in a way that made the attorney's previous advice on the subject inaccurate amounted to ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held May 12. On another issue of first impression in the circuit, the court ruled that the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act's certificate-of-appealability requirement did not apply to a petition seeking coram nobis relief pursuant to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. §1291, even though the petitioner previously had an opportunity to raise the same claim in an ordinary application for habeas-type relief. More details . . . [Mark Godsey]