Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado
Decided March 6, 2017
137 S.Ct. 855, 197 L.Ed.2d 107
The No-Impeachment Rule Concerning Jury Deliberations: Racial Bias Is Sufficient Reason To Breach The Sanctity Of The Juror Deliberations And Challenge The Basis Of The Verdict.
Issue: Whether an exception to the federal no-impeachment rule applies when a juror makes a statement indicating that he or she relied on racial stereotypes to convict a defendant.
Holding: When a juror makes a clear statement indicating that he or she relied on racial stereotypes or animus to convict a defendant, the Sixth Amendment requires that the no-impeachment rule give way in order to permit the trial court to consider the evidence of the juror’s statement and any resulting denial of the jury trial guarantee.
Facts: Petitioner was convicted of unlawful sexual conduct and harassment by a Colorado jury.
United States v. Tigano
Second Circuit Court of Appeals
Decided on January 23, 2018
Docket No.: 15-3073
Where a defendant and his attorney disagree on whether to waive speedy trial rights, the assertions of the defendant are controlling because speedy trial rights belong to the defendant, not his attorney.
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Issue: Whether the Government violated the Sixth Amendment Speedy Trial rights of the defendant where his trial was delayed by more than seven years and where defense attorney and defendant disagreed on whether to waive his speedy trial rights.
Holding: The Sixth Amendment Speedy Trial Rights of the Defendant were violated where numerous delays caused by the Court, the government and his attorney caused the delay. Most importantly, the Second Circuit established an important rule that where the defendant and his attorney disagree as to whether or not to waive speedy trial rights, the wishes of the defendant must be observed by the court because the right to a speedy trial belongs to the defendant, not to the defense attorney.
Kernan v. Cuero
US Supreme Court
Kernan v. Cuero, 2017 WL 5076049 (U.S.,2017)
Decided November 6, 2017
No Specific Performance Enforced On Sentencing Promise Made By The Prosecution
Issue: Whether the California state court decision to amend a criminal complaint after a plea, leading to a higher sentence, involved an unreasonable application of clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States. More specifically, whether the US Supreme Court’s prior decisions required the state court to impose defendant’s original lower sentence or, instead, permit the state to amend a criminal complaint after a plea where it would lead to a higher sentence.
Holding: The Supreme Court held that its prior rulings did not clearly require the state court to impose the original sentence of the plea agreement. “Federal law” as interpreted by the US Supreme Court does not clearly establish that specific performance is constitutionally required.
Facts: In 2005, the state of California charged Cuero with two felonies and a misdemeanor. Cuero originally pleaded “not guilty” but soon after changed his plea to “guilty.” Cuero signed the plea agreement, which stated Cuero “may receive this maximum punishment as a result of my plea: 14 years, 4 months in State Prison, $10,000 fine and 4 years parole.”