Saturday, December 12, 2009

Supreme Court Update (12/11/2009)

Two new criminal cases out on December 11, 2009.

State v. Kelcie Morton, per curiam reversal (of lower court decision finding unlawful frisk), citing dissenting opinion below. See post about opinion below, here.

State v. Eugene Williams, Appeal of death sentence/1st degree murder verdict from Cumberland County.

1) Court did not err when, after removing an attorney due to disagreements with the defendant, the attorney was subsequently re-appointed. The order did not limit IDS authority to reappoint the attorney, so no error occurred.

2) Denial of pro sel motions not error as defendant was represented--and you can't have it both ways.

3) No error in admitting lay opinions of LEO that "white crystal powder substance" looked like it was from spraying the car at a car wash. According to the court, this was not an opinion. No error in opinion that victims were not shot in the vehicle because there was no pooling of blood, as this was rationally based on his perception...etc.

4) No error in admitting pre-trial remarks for corroboration, even though there was variation between the statements (on the stand, the witness said "Leavy got a call", to the sheriff, she said, "Gillard called Leavy"), the court ruled it was not "contrary to or inconsistent with it." (Likewise, on the stand a witness said the Defendant was going to "fuck him up" and the LEO testified that the witness said the defendant said he was going to "kill and fuck him up." An accidental slip of the tongue, I'm sure.

5) No jurisdictional problems where, after guilt, Defendant assaulted counsel, a mistrial was ruled, new counsel was appointed, and a subsequent sentencing hearing was held, even though a different judge presided over sentencing, a different jury found punishment, and the sentencing judgment was entered out of session.

6) No error in clerk selected 48 jurors from the pool outside the presence of defendant. The processing of seperating the venire into panels is purely administerial and not a "proceeding" that defendant is entitled to be present at.

7) No error in allowing prosecution to put in evidence from 1st phase-- that defendant possessed some of the victim's items--even though not relevant to any aggravating factor, because it was "temporally relevant to the chain of circumstances surrounding defendant's crimes."

8) Court found it proportional. Like they have every time since 2002 (and for all men since 1988).

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