American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 46, Issue 3, 68-80


Copyright © 2010 American Judges Association. Used by permission.


Issues that are hot one Term are sometimes cold the next. In contrast with the 2008 Term—when the Court took on automobile searches, the scope of the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule, and the Confrontation Clause—the big cases of 2009-2010 addressed different issues. This past year will be remembered for decisions on the right to counsel for immigrant defendants, the Eighth Amendment and juveniles, the application to the states of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, and key decisions on jury-trial rights. While the 2008 Term gave us Montejo v. Louisiana— an important holding on the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and police interrogation— this year the Court returned to interrogation but through the Fifth Amendment. The justices decided three Miranda cases, one of which may significantly alter police practices. This article reviews some of the most significant criminal-law-related opinions of the Supreme Court’s 2009 Term, emphasizing those decisions that have the greatest impact upon the states. The article concludes with a brief preview of the current Term.