Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Interesting Case from Supreme Court

Stating the obvious, after a while - scotusblog

Martinez v. Illinois – While the case kept getting put off, for one reason or another, things started to move in July 2009. But the prosecutor sought several delays, because it could not find Binion and Scott. Finally, the judge ordered the trial to begin in May 2010. The judge was exasperated, commenting that the two complaining witnesses were “convicted felons…well known in Elgin.”

Insisting on starting, the judge then was notified by the state’s prosecutors that they would not take any part in the trial. A jury was chosen and sworn in, but still the state held back. Given repeated opportunities to call witnesses, the prosecutors each time said they were not participating.

So, at the request of Martinez’s lawyer, the judge ruled that he was not guilty of either charge, and dismissed them. The prosecutors appealed, and first a middle-level appeals court and then the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that Martinez had never been put “in jeopardy” and that the judge should have delayed the trial further. Because the prosecutors never put on a case against him, the state supreme court found, Martinez was never “at risk.”

In addition, the Court turned down a plea by James Holmes, the Colorado man accused of the massacre of theater-goers in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012. He was seeking to force a Fox News reporter in New York, Jana Winter, to go to Colorado to take the witness stand and reveal the sources of information she received about a notebook Holmes had written to a college psychiatrist. The notebook apparently reveals incriminating information about his case. The case was Holmes v. Winter. The New York Court of Appeals (the state’s highest court) protected Winter from having to testify, under that state’s “shield law” for news reporters.

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