Friday, December 07, 2007

Cert. Granted in Indiana v. Edwards

The U.S. Supreme Court granted the State's cert. petition in Indiana v. Edwards Case No. 07-208. (Link to SCOTUS docket here.)

The issue in the case is whether someone who is competent to stand trial is therefore competent to represent themselves. The Indiana Supreme Court said, "yes." Does anyone think that cert. was granted to affirm?

The decision of the Indiana Supreme Court from last May in
Edwards v. State is here (written by Justice Boehm). The Court of Appeals decision (written by now-Chief Judge Baker), which the Indiana Supreme Court vacated is here. But this is a case in which the ISC granted transfer to make the holding its own. It did not disagree with Judge Baker.

In the category of "Be Careful What You Wish For," Justice Boehm wrote in Edwards:
The State responds that more recent authority casts doubt on the continued vitality of the authorities on which Edwards relies. We agree that this contention has some force, but we conclude that we are bound by United States Supreme Court precedent and that the State must address its contention to that Court.
Guess the Indiana AG's Appeals Division took him up on the dare.

The Indiana Supreme Court's assertion that is bound by SCOTUS precedent should be taken with a grain of salt. On at least two occasions, it has explicitly said that is not bound by Jackson v. Virginia. A federal district court has said that those decisions are "unfortunate." Well, yes.

I'll have to look into whether this is a first: a SCOTUS cert. grant in a criminal case on a petition by the State.


Fergie Ferg said...

Interesting question at the end of your post. Actually in the case of Strickland v. Washington, petitioners (State of Florida officials) filed, and were granted, a petition for a writ of certiorari in a case involving a claim that counsel's assistance was rendered ineffective by a conflict of interest.
So, no- this isn't the first time there's been a SCOTUS cert. grant in a crimianl case on a petition by the State.

Michael Ausbrook said...

Perhaps I should have been clearer with my question. I think this is the first time that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted a cert. petition filed by the State of Indiana.