Petition of the day over at the SCOTUS blog – Hartley v. Sanchez. Read it and weep.
Police obtain a rape confession from a mentally challenged 18 year old (Sanchez) and use it to arrest and prosecute him. Apparently he is held in custody for about three years until the charges are finally dropped.
The Petition for Certiorari cites Albright (all over the place), notes the confusion in the circuits (Duh. They should cite this blog.) and concentrates on the 4th amendment, though not quite so emphatically as the Manuel case (the case the SCOTUS has already taken up). It doesn’t cite the Mooney line of SCOTUS cases, but cites some circuit court opinions that do. It does not appear to mention the phrase “due process” at all; but it is of interest that it discusses Franks v. Delaware at some length: is Franks a 4th amendment case or a due process case? We are all over this issue and even we are not sure.
In any event, this case would appear to add little but confusion which, when you go up to the SCOTUS, is especially counter-productive.
It is worth noting, however, that the posture in which this case is presented is the denial of “qualified immunity” to the officers involved. In other words, the government is the appellant. That makes a cert grant more likely because governments are favored litigants.
Nevertheless, the case really adds nothing to what the SCOTUS is already doing in the Manuel case except more confusion. Although the confusion is likely to be better briefed.
We hope this one isn’t granted. We have a much better idea, but at this stage it is no more than that, unfortunately.
Update: The Hartley Petition doesn’t cite Cole v. Carson. We hope that is not a deliberate omission, because that would be a big no-no.