There's only one published win in the last week for a criminal defendant in our federal circuit courts. Gotta love a good case involving the Munitions List.
I would suspect that we should look forward to a slower stream of cases from the circuits as the country's budget crisis plunges forward.
Many of my friends are Assistant Federal Public Defenders, and, over the next few weeks these folks - who are already underpaid for a lawyer - will have to take furlough days. I know these folks and what a furlough will mean. Most of them aren't going to work less hard, they're just going to get paid less.
There's a nice article in the Huffington Post about the furloughs in federal defender offices.
There's a great quote in the article by United States District Judge Catherine C. Blake:
"It's important that people who don't have any power and any voice have people to speak for them . . . You never know when you might need the 6th Amendment."
I think Judge Blake is the finest judge on the federal district court bench because of her wisdom, her raw intelligence, and the caliber of her law clerks. It's great to see her speaking out on this important issue.
To the victory:
1. United States v. Wu, First Circuit: Appellants were convicted of violating restrictions on the overseas shipment of weapons-grade technologies. Two of the convictions were for exporting items restricted under the U.S. Munitions List. The district court erred in not submitting to the jury an element of the offense. This violated appellants' Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. Because the error wasn't harmless, appellants' convictions on these two counts were vacated and the case remanded for resentencing.
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