Daily Archives: February 4, 2020

“Response Requested”

It’s a sign of interest at the SCOTUS.  The Petitioner files his petition.  The Respondent doesn’t have to respond.  He has a right to respond.  But he doesn’t have to.

The Respondent can also explicitly waive his right to respond.  He’s supposed to do that within 30 days after the petition is filed.  The quicker he does that, the quicker the petition will be “distributed” for consideration at a conference of the SCOTUS, where the vast majority of the time it will be denied.  Unless the Petitioner is a governmental agency or some other official this or that like the police.  These are favored litigants, and their chances of being heard by the SCOTUS if they ask for that are much, much higher.

“Equal justice under the law” does not exist in the United States anymore, if it ever did, and that goes for the SCOTUS and every other court from bottom to top and back down again.  This is not cynicism.  This is a brutal fact.

So we’re following this case.  It’s been kicking around an awfully long time.  It’s been up to the SCOTUS before, sent back to the 5th circuit, argued again, reheard “en banc”, and now it’s in the SCOTUS again and they’re interested, and we know that because a response has been requested.  And what’s more than passing strange here is that the Respondent just blew it off, let the 30 days run without responding at all but then about two weeks later filed one of those explicit waivers whereupon the SCOTUS immeidately “distributed” the petition and then immediately after that requested its response.

Why, having blown off the petition completely, did the Respondents suddenly decide to explicitly waive?  Presumably a clerk at the SCOTUS called and told them to make an appearance.

So now a response is due March 2nd.

The danger here is the second question presented.

II. Does a police officer who inaccurately reports
his perceptions of events during a dynamic shooting
encounter violate clearly established rights under the
Fourteenth Amendment?

We talked about this before.  And with respect to the larger issues raised, before that.  And before that, too.  And, yeah, even earlier.  And we could go on.

But we won’t.  Not now, anyway.

We would like to think that the SCOTUS isn’t going to take this case up again.  We’ll speculate though:  the conservative, cop-friendly wing is the SCOTUS faction showing an interest, because it doesn’t seem right that the cops are going to be held liable for a crazed kid with a gun who winds up shooting and badly injuring himself.  So they’d really like to deep-six this one, but the CA5 keeps ignoring the SCOTUS hints in that direction and letting it continue.

Let the man have his trial, we say.  What’s the worst that can happen? He wins a lot of money – relatively speaking – like Mr. Thompson did?  Some poor schmuck gets, say, $14 million, which the Kardashian clan might spend on a one week vacation, and the SCOTUS takes up the case to overturn it just to make it absolutely clear (as opposed to abundantly clear, as it already is) that schmucks are not going to get any relief in federal courts?

And in the process make the state of the law even more incoherent than it already is?

Ugh.

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Filed under epistemology, wrongful convictions