Friday, March 23, 2007

Barajas v. Wise, No. 06-15494 (3-23-07). A word to the Wise, the confrontation clause still exists. The 9th (Bright, joined by D. Nelson and Berson) hold that the state must turn over an informant's present and former addresses for purposes of cross-examination unless there are specific reasons that a court finds warrant non-disclosure. Here, the petitioner was convicted of conspiracy to sell heroin based on the testimony of an undercover informant. That was the basic evidence. The state's refusal to provide where the informant had been plying her trade was unreasonable under federal law. (Perhaps the specter of the Tulia Texas informant misconduct provided context?). This is a very good opinion, with the 9th, courtesy of a visiting judge, providing a Bright-line.

US v. Boyd, No. 06-50051 (3-23-07). The 9th concludes that we live in a Hobbs-ian world ("nasty, brutish, short") at least when a robbery has a de minimis affect on interstate commerce. The defendant robbed a Cash Plus at gunpoint, and Cash Plus had an ATM and Western Union transfer site. These, plus other transactions, satisfied the jurisdictional trigger. The 9th made a point of stressing that the "substantially affects" interstate commerce language of Lopez does not displace the de minimis test at least in a Hobbs Act prosecution.


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