March 12, 2009

No Pulitzer Prize for Madison paper

Bill Lueders in the Isthmus cites to a particular opinion of the Wisconsin Supreme Court as "perhaps the best example" of Judge Randy Koschnick's crusade against "judicial activism," claiming:
Four of the seven justices decided that, henceforth, juvenile confessions would be inadmissible as evidence unless they were videotaped. Koschnick is appalled by this.
I suppose he might well be appalled, except that that is hardly what the Jerrell majority determined. What it decided was this:
[W]e exercise our supervisory power to require that all custodial interrogation of juveniles in future cases be electronically recorded where feasible, and without exception when questioning occurs at a place of detention.
Indeed, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley's lead opinion publishes this statement no fewer than three times. It takes real effort to overlook. Followed by an extensive explication of the court's supervisory power over evidentiary matters in State courts and its justification in the instant case, authored by Chief Justice Abrahamson.

Therefore, what Mr. Lueders needed to ask Judge Koschnick is this: Was the majority's reasoning flawed, or is he simply troubled by its outcome. That is the pertinent line of inquiry regarding any appellate decision: The process employed, not simply the result obtained.

In any event, the purpose of this decision is to protect both juvenile suspects and law enforcement. Also — obviously — the overarching concern here is for the preservation of our ideal of justice.

Notwithstanding the general availability of AAA batteries.

So: Not videotaping. Audiotaping. And even then, only where such recording is feasible. And not during all interrogations, only custodial interrogations. That is, after the juvenile suspect has been taken into custody, as custody itself has been defined in the case law.

And the only venue where audio recordings (not videotaping) are required without exception is at places of detention, e.g., in jail.

Goodness, I'd sure hate to see the worst example.

It's not that hard to read these cases. Even a journalist can do it.


Anonymous said...

Even a journalist can do it.

If one were any good at research, why would journalism beckon as a career?

illusory tenant said...

Ooh. Burn.