It’s a Bad Year for Criminal Justice Reform at the US Supreme Court

It is still not over, and the term of 2021-2022 by the U.S. Supreme Court is being regarded as an awful term for criminal justice reform. Justice Sonia Sotomayor has recently dissented in two cases that highlight the sad state of affairs.

Erstens, Shinn v. Ramirez, the Court held that a death row inmate who received ineffective state-appointed counsel at both trial and postconviction state court proceedings is now barred from presenting new exculpatory evidence—evidence of The truth of innocence—in federal court. “Innocence doesn’t suffice,” stated the state attorney in oral arguments. He maintained that federal courts should follow the flawed state proceedings.

Sotomayor in the dissent stated, “This decision was perverse.” “It’s absurd.” Both counts are correct. You can see the difference. The Washington PostRadley Balko stated, “every Court to Consider the Actual Merits of” [death row inmate]Barry Jones has been found innocent by his innocence claim. He was never convicted for murder. Each court against Jones ruled for procedural reasons, without taking into account the new evidence. Jones’ execution will not occur because Jones has overwhelming evidence to prove his guilt. “It will not be due to a technicality.”

Sixth Amendment provides for effective counsel in criminal matters. Jones had IneffectiveState-appointed counsel in trial or postconviction. The Supreme Court has now barred his ability to present exculpatory evidence in federal courts, as his effective new counsel has provided evidence of his possible innocence that was not available from the previous, ineffective attorneys. This is the Sixth Amendment.

Second notable Sotomayor dissension came from in Boule v. EgbertA ruling that protected the federal government from suing a border agent for violating the First and Fourth Amendments. This outcome, among other sins made mockery of 1971 Court decision. Bivens against Six Unknown Named Federal Bureau of Narcotics AgentsAccording to the, federal officers can be sued by federal courts for Fourth Amendment violations.

BivensThis case involved an American citizen who brought a Fourth Amendment lawsuit against rank-and-file federal officers. They allegedly entered his home without warrant, and used excessive force. These are exactly the facts of Boule’s complaint,” Sotomayor disagreed.

Again, she is correct on every count. Robert Boule, Innkeeper, claimed Erik Egbert, Border Patrol Agent Erik Egbert attacked him on his property. Boule requested that Egbert leave. The Fourth Amendment complaint is not different from the one at issue. Bivens.

Sotomayor noted that Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP), “agents” are no longer liable for any damages due to the Supreme Court’s flawed decision. BivensNo matter the severity of misconduct or injury, you can bring an action to recover damages. It will also preclude any redress. BivensCBP’s almost 20,000 Border Patrol agents are responsible for any injuries that result from Constitutional violations. These include those who perform ordinary law enforcement activities such as traffic stops. The Fourth Amendment is not applicable to federal officers.