Singing Loudly: The Supreme Court's Copy Editor Needs to Concede Guilt

Singing Loudly

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Supreme Court's Copy Editor Needs to Concede Guilt

While I was preparing to write a post about my favorite case thus far, I noticed a glaring mistake. Did anyone else see that in the slip opinion for Florida v. Nixon (available here in PDF) there is a typo? Someone hit an extra key and forgot to run their spell check.

Florida v. Nixon is actually an interesting case in a long line of capital death penalty cases and professional responsibility. So, public defenders, fear not! You can concede the guilt of your client without your client's express permission if it's a "strategic" decision. You say, "But Curtis, the plea agreement decision of a client in a criminal case belongs to the client."


"But Curtis, that is black letter law."


"So, I've got a criminal defendant charged with a capital crime. The client is annoying me. My mom is upset about all the extra stress in my life from the prospects of this case..."

Guilty, guilty, guilty!

"And I won't lose my license to practice law?"

Nope. And think of the good thing: no death penalty if you plea guilty!

The decision really isn't all that surprising, remarkable, or anything. Hell, they let Ginsburg write it, so you know that it's not a landmark decision. I think everyone but Rehnquist, who didn't participate, signed onto her opinion. But I enjoy that there's a typo (and I think that you should have the express consent of your client before deciding to make him or her plea guilty in any case) in the slip opinion.

Typically I'm adept at noticing misspellings and typos in others' work. Not so great at noticing it in my own writing... It is rare that I notice any mistakes in the Supreme Court opinions.


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