Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Boobie boys opinion

The 11th Circuit yesterday decided the "Boobie Boys" case, affirming most of the convictions. The court did reverse two of the convictions for "Jonathon "Moose" Hawthorne and Ben "Bush" Johnson. Judge Barkett wrote the 137 page opinion. The court repeatedly said that the district court erred in admitting all sorts of hearsay and opinion testimony, but for most of the appellants, the court found the error harmless.

Professor Berman has this interesting comment about the case, which also contains a link to the case:
In his opinion for the majority in Blakely, Justice Scalia expresses concern about defendants possible being punished for an uncharged murder and possibly being punished based on weak hearsay testimony proven to a judge only by a preponderance of the evidence. If these issues truly concern Justice Scalia (and other members of the Blakely majority), the Supreme Court ought be interested in a cert. petition coming from today's decision by the Eleventh Circuit in US v. Baker, No. 00-13083 (11th Cir. Dec. 13, 2005) (available here). (Tech warning: the PDF of this opinion is causing Adobe to crash for me sometimes.) Starting at page 124 of an 137-page opinion(!!), the 11th Circuit in Baker affirms long sentences for a number of co-defendants in a large drug conspiracy on the basis of hearsay testimony concerning their involvement in an uncharged murder. Fans of Crawford debates will especially enjoy the court's work in footnote 68, where the Eleventh Circuit
explains why Crawford is to be inapplicable at sentencing.

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