Tuesday, July 17, 2012
From Kent Scheidegger at Crime and Consequences, commenting on this California Supreme Court case, "a capital case in which a juror was excused for cause, ultimately found improper under the Witherspoon-Witt rule."
Is this reversibleper se? The unanimous opinion of the Court by Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye reluctantly concludes that this result is required by the U.S. Supreme Court's splintered opinion in Gray v. Mississippi, 481 U.S. 648 (1987).
But then the Chief Justice writes a separate petition for certiorari concurring opinion. It's not terribly unusual in Cal. Supreme for the author of the opinion of the court to write a separate concurrence joined by less than a majority of the court, but this one is joined by a (bare) majority. She notes Gray's lack of a majority opinion, limiting language in a subsequent case, and dubious policy basis in cases where the defendant ultimately receives a fair trial with an impartial jury.