American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 45, Issue 3, 62-74


Copyright © 2009 American Judges Association. Used by permission.


The U.S. Supreme Court’s October 2008 Term gave us a number of very important criminal law and procedure cases. The Court overruled long-standing precedents on automobile searches and post-arraignment interrogation. The justices also addressed whether the use of a forensic chemist’s report violates the Confrontation Clause. These three decisions affect routine police and courtroom practices; undoubtedly, there will be periods of adjustment for judges, lawyers, and police. The Term was also marked by other Fourth Amendment holdings, including one that either transforms the exclusionary rule or merely draws it closer to the rule’s underlying purpose, depending on one’s point of view. This article reviews some of the most significant criminal-lawrelated opinions of the Supreme Court’s 2008-2009 Term, with an emphasis on the decisions that have the greatest impact upon the states. The article concludes with a brief preview of the current Term.