Failed Justice

The Supreme Court’s Worst Decision of My Tenure
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source link District of Columbia v. Heller , which recognized an individual right to possess a firearm under the Constitution, is unquestionably the most clearly incorrect decision that the Supreme Court announced during my tenure on the bench. Throughout most of American history there was no federal objection to laws regulating the civilian use of firearms.

Colonial history contains many examples of firearm regulations in urban areas that imposed obstacles to their use for protection of the home. Boston, Philadelphia, and New York—the three largest cities in America at that time—all imposed restrictions on the firing of guns in the city limits. Those and other cities also regulated the storage of gunpowder. Most, if not all, of those regulations would violate the Second Amendment as it was construed in the 5—4 decision that Justice Antonin Scalia announced in Heller on June 26, Until Heller , the invalidity of Second Amendment—based objections to firearms regulations had been uncontroversial.

The first two federal laws directly restricting the civilian use and possession of firearms—the act prohibiting mail delivery of handguns and the act prohibiting the possession of sawed-off shotguns and machine guns—were enacted over minor Second Amendment objections that were dismissed by the vast majority of legislators participating in the debates.

And even if there were some merit to the legal arguments advanced in the Heller case, all could foresee the negative consequences of the decision, which should have provided my colleagues with the justification needed to apply stare decisis to Miller. At a minimum, it should have given them greater pause before announcing such a radical change in the law that would greatly tie the hands of state and national lawmakers endeavoring to find solutions to the gun problem in America.

It also represents my greatest disappointment as a member of the Court. After the oral argument and despite the narrow vote at our conference about the case, I continued to think it possible to persuade either Justice Anthony Kennedy or Justice Clarence Thomas to change his vote. During the drafting process, I had frequent conversations with Kennedy, as well as occasional discussions with Thomas, about historical issues, because I thought each of them had an open mind about the case.

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In those discussions—particularly those with Kennedy—I now realize that I failed to emphasize sufficiently the human aspects of the issue as providing unanswerable support for the stare decisis argument for affirmance. After all, Kennedy had been one of the three decisive votes that had saved Roe v. Wade from being overruled in Planned Parenthood v. Before the argument, I had decided that stare decisis provided a correct and sufficient basis for upholding the challenged gun regulation, but I nonetheless asked my especially competent law clerk, Kate Shaw, to make a thorough study of the merits of the argument that an independent review of the historical materials would lead to the same result.

I wanted that specific study to help me decide which argument to feature in my dissent, which I planned to complete and circulate before Scalia completed his opinion for the majority. Shaw convinced me that Miller had been correctly decided; accordingly, I decided to feature both arguments in my dissent, which we were able to circulate on April 28, , five weeks before Scalia circulated the majority opinion on June 2, In the cover memorandum for my probable dissent, I wrote:. Other than, perhaps, representing someone you truly believe innocent?

And the location of the bodies, whereupon the attorneys hied off to confirm the story. That brings us to Alton Logan. Logan served 26 years for a vicious murder. Logan, facing the death penalty, was convicted and narrowly escaped execution in favor of a life sentence.

Wilson was never charged with the offense, though he was convicted for a different murder. I think we can all agree on that. Is there any override in the ethics code that would permit or even compel the attorneys to do so?

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The first question is probably unanswerable, but the second is almost surely, No. Eventually, Wilson died and per agreement the attorneys were then released from confidentiality. They came forward with his admission to them, and with the able assistance of postconviction counsel and investigators, Logan secured both his release from prison and official exoneration.

For one thing, the facts are, at least one would hope, probably non-recurrent. So, then, just file Logan away under, Shit Happens? As subsequent events proved, this tack had the benefit of being factually true. In other words, there were various breakdowns along the way.

I won this uncorrected proof in a Goodreads Giveaway early in in exchange for an honest review and I started reading it when I first received it. I got bogged down in the 30 page Introduction and decided I was not really in a frame of mind to read it at that time. Unfortunately it got buried in with my other TBR and I just got back to it.

Sorry Counterpoint for the delay but here finally is my review. The book is well written and well thought out.

The introduction tells the basic story of wh I won this uncorrected proof in a Goodreads Giveaway early in in exchange for an honest review and I started reading it when I first received it. The introduction tells the basic story of what happened to Mr. Logan then the book continues with more detail and narrative from the victim, Alton Logan.

I did find the characters a little confusing and had to look back several times to verify who was who, but there were a lot of characters! The story is very upsetting, as this kind of thing could happen to any of us. While it is hard to understand the legalities that made the lawyers keep quiet about the fact they knew for 26 years that Mr. Logan was innocent, what was harder to understand was so many other people knew it, or had heard about it and did nothing! It seems some of the "bad guys" in jail were more concerned with trying to let the system know about his innocence than the system guys who are supposed to be the "good guys".

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I think that was more upsetting to me than the initial two lawyers who had legal reasons they could not come forward until their client died. Thank you to the defenders and lawyers who worked with this man for 26 years trying to free him and finally were successful. The settlement he got was nothing compared to 26 years in prison. I am appalled that he never received the slightest apology from the "good guys". The fact he is not totally bitter shows what a decent man he really is at his core. I hope he is living comfortably with his wife and is happy.

This is an important book as it shows our justice system has some flaws that need to be worked on. I actually would like to see it as a movie, it would reach a far larger audience and if well-done I think it could be very powerful. Thanks for the Good Read Counterpoint Books! Jan 29, Carol rated it it was amazing Shelves: , non-fiction , first-reads. The authors present a very serious problem with client-attorney privilege. Alton Logan, a year-old African American was arrested for the shooting murder of a security guard at McDonalds in in Chicago's South side.

He spent 26 years in prison for a crime that he did not commit. His two attorneys also had the real murderer as their client. The real murdered told them that Alton Logan was innocent. He even signed an affidavit stating the same and to be revealed at his death. Because of atto The authors present a very serious problem with client-attorney privilege. Because of attorney client privilege, neither attorney made the information public until after the murdered had died. The first section of the book discusses that rule and why it is immoral.

The aim of justice as per John Adams who became the second president, it is better to have many guilty to go free than to cause an innocent person to be put to death or imprisoned. So, this needs to be fixed and the authors have proposed solutions in the back of the book. Not only was that very important information withheld but so was the testimony of some witnesses who said that Mr. Logan was not the McDonald, the information about the gun and the fact that Mr.

Logan never possessed a gun. To make it a perfect storm, his case at times involve prosecutors driven by ambition, mistreatment of his brother when he was arrested and the lack of a good investigation. Since Alton Logan dropped out of school he was unable to find a job. Later while in prison, he earned his GED and took some vocational education courses. But after he was released he still was unable to find work. That gap of 26 years on his resume was death of his job search.

He is now getting help for his unemployment and other problems. But I think that much more help is needed. I would what the current program for high school drop outs and people are who have a prior record. So, this book brings up quite a few questions.

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I received an advanced copy of this book from the Publisher as a win from FirstReads but that in no way made a difference in my thoughts or feelings in this review Aug 19, Cameron rated it liked it. This was a good book about an important issue. Our justice system is definitely not perfect. As a lawyer, I get the importance of this book. As a parent, I really wish the author would have spent less time talking about himself as the victim and more time discussing prevention. When you hang around with the wrong crowd and have a long criminal history, it only makes sense that you are at increased risk of being accused of a crime that you didn't commit.

That being said, I think this is an interes This was a good book about an important issue. That being said, I think this is an interesting book about privilege. It would be the perfect gift for someone who is passionate about the law. Jun 30, Jenn rated it really liked it Shelves: books-won. I won a copy of this book. The criminal justice system is far from perfect, but changes need to be made to lawyer-client confidentiality code. There is no reason, what-so-ever, for a case like this to occur. Alton Logan was charged with a murder he did not commit. The man who did commit it confessed to his lawyers that he did kill the man that Logan was being charged with, making Logan an innocent man.

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Logan spent over 20 years in prision, knowing he was an innocent man. The story is really good I won a copy of this book. The story is really good and moves at a decent pace. I think everyone should read this book. Feb 09, Joan rated it liked it Shelves: book-riot , read-in A man spends 26 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, and there were lawyers who had written documentation of his innocence.

Recent Times in Which a Justice Failed to Recuse Despite a Conflict of Interests

This is a short, tightly written narrative of our flawed legal system and its impact on the disenfranchised. Shelves: category-biography , recs-shulin , topic-law-and-gov , topic-soc-race. This book was depressing, in roughly the way I expected. It helped to reinforce my conviction that the American criminal justice system, especially as applied in poor, minority communities, is deeply, deeply fucked up.

Feb 08, Brandi rated it really liked it Shelves: halls-library Heartbreaking and important look at yet another flaw in our criminal justice system.

Miscarriage of justice

We must do better. How many men like Alton Logan are behind bars for a crime they did not commit? Even one is too many. Sep 25, Greta Turnbull rated it it was amazing. I could not put this book down. I loved it!!!!!!!! Mar 01, Doris rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-i-have-won. I won this book on Goodreads Fascinating true story.