Thursday, March 03, 2005

3 Opinions Today

Criminal Law: Prosecutor's use of inconsistent evidence
In an interesting case dealing with prosecutorial conduct, the Court today vacated 1 defendant's death sentence. The Court held that the prosecutor violated that defendant's due process rights by "intentionally and without good faith justification arguing inconsistent and irreconcilable factual theories" in the 2 defendants' separate trials. With respect to the other defendant, the Court held that any violation by the prosecutor was harmless. The case is In re Sakarias/Waidla on Habeas Corpus, 2005 WL 486783 (Cal.).

The Court held that "fundamental fairness does not permit the People, without a good faith justification, to attribute to two defendants, in separate trials, a criminal act only one defendant could have committed."

In a concurring/dissenting opinion, Justice Baxter wrote that he found no bad faith by the prosecutor and would have upheld both death sentences.

The Court also held that claims of Miranda error are cognizable on habeas corpus petitions.

Maura Dolan of the LA Times discusses the case in this article.
Today's 3 opinions are available here.

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