Feb. 25th, 2013


Feb. 25th, 2013 06:39 am
giandujakiss: (Default)
Did they seriously play the theme to Gone With the Wind as Quentin Tarantino was exiting the stage after receiving the award for Django Unchained?
giandujakiss: (Default)
Although she agreed that, for procedural reasons, the Supreme Court should deny certiorari on a particular case (ie., not hear the appeal), she did write separately to discuss it (pdf):
Petitioner Bongani Charles Calhoun stood trial in a federal court in Texas for participating in a drug conspiracy. The primary issue was whether Calhoun knew that the friend he had accompanied on a road trip, along with the friend’s associates, were about to engage in a drug transaction... The issue of Calhoun’s intent came to a head when the prosecutor cross-examined him. Calhoun related that the night before the arrest, he had detached himself from the group when his friend arrived at their hotel room with a bag of money. He stated that he “didn’t know” what was happening, and that it “made me think . . . [t]hat I didn’t want to be there.” ...The prosecutor pressed Calhoun repeatedly to explain why he did not want to be in the hotel room. Eventually, the District Judge told the prosecutor to move on. That is when the prosecutor asked, “You’ve got African-Americans, you’ve got Hispanics, you’ve got a bag full of money. Does that tell you—a light bulb doesn’t go off in your head and say, This is a drug deal?”

Calhoun, who is African-American, claims that the prosecutor’s racially charged question violated his constitutional rights....

There is no doubt [] that the prosecutor’s question never should have been posed... Such argumentation is an affront to the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws. And by threatening to cultivate bias in the jury, it equally offends the defendant’s right to an impartial jury.... By suggesting that race should play a role in establishing a defendant's criminal intent, the prosecutor here tapped a deep and sorry vein of racial prejudice that has run through the history of criminal justice in our Nation....

Also troubling are the Government’s actions on appeal. Before the Fifth Circuit, the Government failed to recognize the wrongfulness of the prosecutor’s question....

I hope never to see a case like this again.
Damn that undue influence.

(Honestly, the more pertinent question is why Justice Breyer is the only other Justice who joined her statement.)

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