Criminal Procedure

Introduction When a Louisiana state court set Ronald Egana’s bail at $26,000, Egana’s mother and close friend did what hundreds of thousands of arrestees do each year: They sought the services of a commercial bail bondsman. Blair’s Bail Bonds agreed to post Egana’s bail in exchange for a twelve-percent nonrefundable premium, the state-approved rate in […]

Plea bargaining dominates the modern criminal justice system. Constitutional safeguards, however, have only slowly followed this fundamental shift in criminal adjudication. In Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper, the Supreme Court extended the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel to situations in which deficient counsel leads a defendant to forgo a beneficial plea agreement. The Court’s test left state court...

DIRECT COLLATERAL REVIEW

Z. Payvand Ahdout*

Federal courts are vitally important fora in which to remedy constitutional violations that occur during state criminal proceedings. But critics have long lamented the difficulty of obtaining federal review of these violations. The Supreme Court rarely grants certiorari to review state criminal convictions, including allegations of constitutional defects, on direct appeal. Likewise, the Court has historically declined to grant certiorari to review...

Introduction My article Harmless Errors and Substantial Rights challenged conventional wisdom about the harmless constitutional error doctrine in criminal procedure. Specifically, I contended that the traditional way of understanding harmless error as a remedial doctrine rooted in so-called “constitutional common law” created significant anomalies. The remedial perspective does not explain which errors can properly be […]

For more than fifty years, the problems endemic to municipal policing in the United States—brutality, racial discrimination, corruption, and opacity—have remained remarkably constant. This has occurred notwithstanding the advent of modern constitutional criminal procedure and countless judicial opinions applying it to the police. The municipal police can evade criminal procedure’s legality-based paradigm through formal and informal means....

As the use of predictive technology expands, an increasing number of states have passed legislation encouraging or requiring judges to incorporate recidivism risk assessment algorithms into their bail, parole, and sentencing determinations. And while these tools promise to reduce prison overcrowding, decrease recidivism, and combat racial bias, critics have identified a number of potential constitutional issues that stem from the use of these algorithms....

The rules and practices of criminal procedure assume a clean separa­tion between the interests of the public and the interests of the lone defendant who stands accused. Even the names given to criminal pros­ecutions often declare this dichotomy, as in jurisdictions such as California, Illinois, Michigan, and New York that caption criminal cases “The People of the State of X v. John Doe.” This Essay argues that this traditional people/defendant...