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9th Circuit Court of Appeals Strikes Again

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posted on Apr, 23 2005 @ 02:01 AM
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A three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit overturned a 1995 murder conviction on the grounds that family members were allowed to wear buttons with the victim's photograph during the trial:



A federal appeals court on Friday overturned a 10-year-old San Jose murder conviction, finding the defendant did not receive a fair trial because the victim's family was allowed to sit each day in the front row of the courtroom wearing buttons bearing photographs of the victim.

In a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Mathew Musladin is entitled to a new trial for the 1994 killing of his estranged wife's boyfriend outside a Blossom Valley home. Musladin, 45, is currently serving a life prison term for the first-degree murder of Thomas Allen Studer and the attempted murder of his now ex-wife, Pamela.

The state has the option of asking an 11-judge 9th Circuit panel to reconsider the decision, or send the case back to San Jose for a new trial. Santa Clara County prosecutors vowed to retry Musladin, 45, who has maintained that he was acting in self-defense and that Studer's death was an accident.

San Jose Mercury News


This is a perfect example of a liberal court deciding to throw out the law and write their own. Because of this silly ruling, a man who shot someone in cold blood may again walk the streets of California. While people with signs saying "Convict Him!" and such are not allowed into a courtroom, the buttons worn by the family members only showed the victim's face and did not say anything about the guilt of the accused.

The 9th Circuit has a history of doing this, and it's the most reversed court by the Supreme Court in the United States.

[edit on 4/23/2005 by djohnsto77]




posted on Apr, 23 2005 @ 09:40 AM
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Since the 9th circuit is under both political and metaphysical attack at the moment, could you provide a more scientific sampling of rulings demonstrating their history of doing "this" and higher opinions of reversed decisions?

Not that I doubt you can, it would just be some interesting meat for discussion.



posted on Apr, 23 2005 @ 11:31 AM
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Gee, maybe he didn't get a fair trial? Gee, maybe the people were swayed by things not in the case? Like the MJ trial? Doesn't matter evidence there is for or against the molestation, it all depends on if there is a MJ fan in the jury or not. How dare the 9th circut follow the law, like the judges did in the Terry Schiavo case, instead of letting emotions/religon control them, they followed the law. Sorry if the law to protect people from being shafted is wrong to you, but to the people on Death Row who are later proven innoccent like these laws.



posted on Apr, 23 2005 @ 12:19 PM
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I'll take the bait.

What the family did was purposely trying to get a knee-jerk reaction from the jury. And we can sit here everyday and wonder if it did. Now, the 9th circuit gave this man a new trial. This decision can be, and probably should be, reviewed by the 11 judge panel. After that, he will then be re-prosecuted by the D.A. in San Jose county. You are making a hubbub over nothing right now.

And besides, THEY ARE NOT REWRITING LAWS. Read that again. How about one more time. And once more for good luck. And one to grow on. Since when is upholding the law, and I quote you, "a perfect example of a liberal court deciding to throw out the law and write their own"? You should be applauding them for upholding the laws requiring a fair trial.

And even if they were doing something radical, that is their position. They have to make important decisions. They have to make sure the laws are being upheld in all aspects. And when they "judge" on these, they are doing what they are supposed to do. Did you miss that in your government class or are you going to blame the "over corrupt, anti-god, pinko commy, red diaper doper baby liberal eduacation system"?



posted on Apr, 23 2005 @ 12:26 PM
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When I heard that story on the news, my immediate thought was if the buttons or whatever were so disruptive why were they allowed in the courtroom?
Isn't it the trial judges duty to keep watch over the courtroom?
Why didn't the defense object at trial? If it bothered them then, they should have voice disapproval then, not when their client s found guilty.



posted on Apr, 23 2005 @ 01:03 PM
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Don't know why they didn't pursue it. But, just like the Martha trial, some things you cannot tell until after the fact. One of Martha's jurors came out and pretty much said that he did it for the "little man". They should have appealed it on that guy alone. An obvious bias like that was not known until after the trial.

Also, this guy could have been trying to appeal as soon as he got to prison. The wheels on the legal bus may go round and round, but very slowly.

Also, let's put you in the jury. Day in and day out, you see distraught, saddend parents. Every day, day in and day out, you see a button on their lapel. It is of the victim. Every day, you feel the eyes of the parents and the victim on you as you listen to the case. And on that judgement day you decide to draw a little from it. And *boom* your decision is damaged by an irrational thought.



posted on Apr, 23 2005 @ 02:10 PM
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Well I've found some statistics. It is somewhat misleading to just say it's the most reversed court, because it is also the busiest court. Yet, an analysis of the data shows that the U.S. Supreme Court must review a larger percentage of its cases.



Although the 9th Circuit’s caseload comprised approximately 17% of the federal appellate cases terminated in the year ending March 31, 2002, its decisions accounted for close to half (43%) of all the federal appellate decisions reviewed by the Supreme Court this past term.  Comparatively, the 5th Circuit decided nearly 14% of federal appeals cases, but accounted for only 5.4% of the Supreme Court’s docket.  The third largest federal appeals court, the 11th Circuit, accounted for nearly 13% of federal appellate caseload, but only 7.1% of the cases decided by the Supreme Court originated there.

This means that, on average, a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit was more than twice as likely to be reviewed and produce a written decision by the U.S. Supreme Court than was a case from the other federal appeals courts.  By contrast, a case from the second busiest circuit, the 5th, was nearly a third less likely to be reviewed and decided by the High Court than the average federal appellate case.

It is true that the overall reversal rate of the 9th Circuit (75%) was lower than that of other federal appellate courts — most notably the 4th, 5th, 8th and 10th Circuits, which were all reversed 100% of the time this past term.  Yet these “complete” reversal rates are likely due to much less frequent review of those circuits by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Specifically, the High Court decided only eight cases from the 4th, 5th, 8th and 10th Circuits combined (three from the 4th, three from the 5th, one from the 8th, and one from the 10th), compared with the 24 cases the Supreme Court took up from the 9th.  Thus, the 9th Circuit’s lower overall reversal rate does not demonstrate the justices’ greater agreement with the decisions of the 9th Circuit, but is likely attributable to that circuit’s much higher review rate.  Such a conclusion is only reinforced by the fact that the more than half (57%, or 8 of 14) of the federal appellate decisions the Supreme Court unanimously overturned came from the 9th Circuit.  This means that a full one-third (8 of 24) of the 9th Circuit cases decided by the High Court were unanimously overturned.

These continuing negative trends are certainly not reflective of the competency of the 9th Circuit’s entire bench, which includes some of the most respected appellate judges in the country.  It is, however, indicative of a judicial philosophy to which some 9th Circuit judges adhere.  Specifically, in pursuing political and policy preferences at the expense of established precedent and textual commands, some 9th Circuit judges seem to invite review and reversal by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Until that changes, it is likely the justices will keep a watchful eye on the federal appeals court out West by continuing to review and reverse a disproportionately large number of 9th Circuit decisions.

Source: Center for Individual Freedom


Here's something from an article actually writing in defense of the Court:



The Ninth Circuit's Record of Frequent Reversal Is Undisputed - But What Does It Mean?

There is no question that the Ninth Circuit in some years has had a truly atrocious record at the Supreme Court. In 1996, for example, it suffered a remarkable 24 reversals, including 16 by a unanimous 9-0 vote.

The Circuit fared somewhat better this past term, when the Court affirmed the Circuit 4 times and reversed 14 times - a reversal rate roughly in line with those of other courts of appeals. Still, 6 of the 14 reversals were unanimous. That is an unusually high number, and a strong indicator that the Ninth Circuit remains significantly out of step with the court that reviews its work.

Based on these statistics, critics of the Circuit have diagnosed a variety of ills. Most, like Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit (who has done the most thorough statistical analysis of the Ninth Circuit's record), conclude that the Ninth Circuit, the largest by far with 28 active judges, is simply too big to do its job well.

But is the symptom - the high reversal rate - based on which the diagnoses are made even an indicator that the court is ailing? Not necessarily.

Source: Findlaw.com



posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 02:39 PM
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You may have heard of the case of Dean Schwartzmiller who may have molested up to 36,000 children.

ATSNN Story: NEWS: Man may have molested up to 36000 children

Not surprisingly, the infamous 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had a hand in his crimes:



August 1987: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned his 1981 conviction for the molestation of the Idaho boy and ordered his release or retrial.

Source: Kentucky.com



posted on Nov, 5 2005 @ 07:55 PM
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Here's two more gems from the 9th Circuit:

Parents no longer have any rights whatsoever about what schools expose their children to in schools:
NEWS: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds School Sex Survey

It's completely legal to make false accusations of crimes against the police:



SAN FRANCISCO - A federal appeals court on Thursday nullified a California criminal law adopted after the Rodney King beating that made it unlawful for citizens to knowingly lodge false accusations against police officers.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the law was an unconstitutional infringement of speech because false statements in support of officers were not also criminalized.

The decision, hailed by civil liberties groups and opposed by state prosecutors and law enforcement groups, overturns the California Supreme Court, which in 2002 ruled that free speech concerns took a back seat when it came to speech targeting police officers.

MSNBC


Are the people on this court nuts? Congress really needs to disband this court and form several new circuits in its place with new judges...that would be legal.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 01:28 PM
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That's one thing I hate about our injustice system. Make sure you treat the criminal really well--and screw the victim.

I have no problem with allowing family members to wear buttons with the victim's picture. None at all. Because it drives the point home that this was a real human being that was murdered/victimized.

I think criminal defense attorneys hate that. They just want to get their client the lightest sentence possible--and screw the victim.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 02:23 PM
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DontTreadOnMe, on a point of note:

Many Judges are bias to the victims family, especailly in the lower courts.
The defence council tends to change when you get into the higher courts.

This lawyer might not have realised what damage would be caused by wearing the buttons and it might seem like something...that should be allowed...however it shouldn't be allowed in the court. The Jury many times, wish to help the victim and their family out. they feel sorry for them and these sort of actions can help throw it in their favour.

One of the lawyers I work with, actually says in murder/rape cases, he tells the family/victim to break down in court to help gain a conviction and this is very similar. You'll notice [if you've ever been in court in this situation] the prosecution let the victims family ramble on about how 'amazing' they are knowing the defence lawyer can't "jump" in without destroying his case in front of a Jury.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 02:25 PM
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Originally posted by Amethyst
That's one thing I hate about our injustice system. Make sure you treat the criminal really well--and screw the victim.


You have to give them the best conditions until you know they are guilty.

You have two options;

Treat them poorly and punish innocent people prior to conviction or;
Treat them well and punish nobody [directly] until they are proven guilty.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 03:22 PM
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Wait, I love the Republican logic.

"Libby is innocent!!!! Innocent until proven guilty!!!! Those evil liberals act like he's already convicted! NUKE THE PLANET!!!!!"

"WHat? How dare they treat this evil criminal as though he was innocent, just because he wasn't found guilty yet doesn't mean we can't sic the CIA on him and torture him!"



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 06:51 PM
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Originally posted by Odium

Originally posted by Amethyst
That's one thing I hate about our injustice system. Make sure you treat the criminal really well--and screw the victim.


You have to give them the best conditions until you know they are guilty.



I'm going on assumption of guilt here though. Let me edit my statement--I'm for wearing buttons with pictures. But it's up to the jury to come to a decision based on the evidence. Now during sentencing is when the point should be driven home that this was a person who was victimized, not just another name.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 02:44 AM
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Amethyst, the problem is for a defence team if they attempt to make the 'family' look bad they throw the case away. They have such a hard time in rape and murder cases, it isn't even funny anymore.

Simple things like even allowing the family in the court room can throw the case in the favour of the prosecution, because everytime they mention the 'loss' of their child they break down. The buttons would have just help drive a point home.

Jury's are not perfect, they do not always pick the best choice and simple things like that have to be removed from courts because it is unfair on the innocent people.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 12:59 PM
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Hey DJ, where you go? Had to hide to keep the truth from getting on you? it's ok, one day they will take the collar off and you will be able to think for yourself.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by Full Metal
Wait, I love the Republican logic.

"Libby is innocent!!!! Innocent until proven guilty!!!! Those evil liberals act like he's already convicted! NUKE THE PLANET!!!!!"

"WHat? How dare they treat this evil criminal as though he was innocent, just because he wasn't found guilty yet doesn't mean we can't sic the CIA on him and torture him!"


What are you talking about? This guy was found guilty by a jury, but the appeals court overturned it simply because the family was wearing pins with a picture of the victim. Not anything that said the defendant was guilty.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 01:17 PM
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That's just it, they treated him as though he was guilty before he was found guilty! SO he was found guilty. If he had a fair trial where he was innocent until proven guilty who knows how they would have found him!



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 01:24 PM
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Just wearing a picture of the victim is not treating the defendant like he's guilty. Pictures of victims are introduced as evidence all the time in criminal trials. This is a super overbroad interpretation of a Supreme Court precedent that says you couldn't like wear a t-shirt that says "GUILTY" or "FRY HIM" etc.

I'm sure the SCOTUS will overturn this if it goes to them, which looks likely since the state did ask for en banc hearing by the 9th recently (that was denied, of course).

[edit on 11/8/2005 by djohnsto77]



posted on Oct, 11 2006 @ 07:45 PM
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The original case of the victim picture buttons went before the U.S. Supreme Court today, and only the most liberal members seemed sympathetic to the 9th Circuit ruling.

I think they'll overturn it, reinstating the original conviction.




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