Monday, February 26, 2007
Certiorari denied in Craig
Today the Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari I filed in Craig v. Ohio. Obviously, I am disappointed. I think the issues that the petition raised are important ones that the Court must ultimately resolve, and I hope the time will come sooner rather than later. Most narrowly, the case posed the question whether an autopsy report in a murder case is testimonial; more broadly, the question is whether a state can immunize from Confrontation Clause review a statement routinely made by government officials in anticipation of litigation by characterizing it as a business or public record. Last week, the Court turned away another autopsy case, seeking review of the Second Circuit's decision -- one I thought was atrocious -- in United States v. Feliz. And several weeks ago, the Court rejected the petition in Campbell and Pinks v. North Dakota, which could have let it resolve the broader question and which more directly posed the question of whether the Confrontation Clause can be satisfied by giving the accused the oportunity to subpoena the witness. It may be that the Court saw problems in each of these cases making it a poor vehicle for review. It may be that the Court wants the lower courts to decide more "business records" cases before addressing the area. It may be that the Court wants to let more time go by before returning to the whole Crawford area altogether. And perhaps there are other explanations as well; as a rule, the Court gives no explanation for cert denials. These denials should not be read as an endorsement of the decisions of the lower courts, which I continue to believe are plainly wrong. There are lots of Crawford-related issues that only the Supreme Court can resolve, and eventually it will do so.