Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Passing the Torch

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court gave me a bit of a going-away present: they granted our petition for review on the last case I argued in front of the Michigan Supreme Court, almost exactly a year ago.

The case is Michigan v Bryant, and it should be argued some time in the Fall. When we filed the petition last summer, I'd already offered to let one of our "new kids" take it over, since I'd already had an argument in Washington, and I was already officially "retired" --- even though it didn't feel like it at the time. It would have been a nice coda to my career...but I thought it was more important to give a boost to one of the younger attorneys in the office, rather than hog the spotlight for one last encore. Ironically, if the County hadn't made such an effort last year to broom out so much of its experienced legal talent, the issue wouldn't even have come up...and I'd be spending most of this year getting ready for my second trip to the mountaintop.

The case itself should be a no-brainer, involving the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment...and the State Supreme Court's curious belief that police confronting a citizen who's been shot, and is bleeding on the pavement, is not confronting an "emergency" situation sufficient to allow them to ask the victim "what happened"? As soon as the decision came out, it had "certiorari" written all over it...and the only real question was whether it was too goofy to interest the USSC.

I'm already planning to attend the argument...and though I am a bit disappointed not to get another chance to argue there, I think I made the right call last summer.

JEFFREY CAMINSKY, a retired public prosecutor from Michigan, writes on a wide range of topics. His books include the science fiction adventure novel The Star Dancers, the exciting second volume in the Guardians of Peace-tm series, The Sonnets of William Shakespeare, and the acclaimed Referee’s Survival Guide, a book on soccer officiating. All are published by New Alexandria Press, and are available on Amazon, as well as directly from the publisher.