First Supreme Court Opinion on the New Term

Gerard Magliocca

Gerard N. Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Professor Magliocca is the author of three books and over twenty articles on constitutional law and intellectual property. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford, his law degree from Yale, and joined the faculty after two years as an attorney at Covington and Burling and one year as a law clerk for Judge Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Magliocca has received the Best New Professor Award and the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor) from the student body, and in 2008 held the Fulbright-Dow Distinguished Research Chair of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) in 2013.

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3 Responses

  1. Jim Maloney says:

    A disturbing decision, for reasons well stated in the dissent. It arises out of a “shaken-baby” homicide conviction that was based solely on medical expert testimony (the prosecution’s, of course) in a 1997 trial, before new medical evidence came to light about the false indicia of skaken-baby syndrome that were then relied upon. Here, it was the baby’s grandmother who was convicted and sentenced to 15 years to life without any evidence of a motive, and in a case in which there was none of the retinal hemorrhaging that occurs in the vast majority of skaken-baby cases. Just a case of SIDS? Very possibly. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt? I don’t think so.

    A ghoulish reversal of fortune handed down on Halloween. This would not bother me so much if it were a work of fiction. But it’s real.

  2. Brett Bellmore says:

    Disturbing in that it’s not so much a reversal, as a re-re-reversal. The Ninth’s contempt for the Supreme court’s authority is showing a bit more clearly than usual here, which is probably why they kept taking the case, over and over.

  3. Jim Maloney says:

    Well, right you are! I did not find that long procedural history in the opinion itself, but a Westlaw check shows that SCOTUS did indeed GVR this case twice in the past (remanding “for further consideration in light of intervening decisions”) before actually taking it head-on this time around. So that explains something about the motive (the Court’s, that is).

    As for the Defendant’s motive, that remains a mystery, as does the question of whether the baby died of SIDS or shaken-baby syndrome. But I do hope she’s guilty, and not a sacrificial lamb to a protracted battle over authority…