American Judges Association
Court Review: Volume 41, Issue 1 - Recent Criminal Decisions of the United States Supreme Court: The 2003-2004 Term
Date of this Version
The United States Supreme Court this term reasserted the rule of law in the context of the detainees in the war on terrorism. At the same time, this was a term of unanswered questions. The Court handed down several decisions that had far-reaching implications that were not addressed by the Court’s opinions. Two cases with the greatest practical input on the day-to-day administration of justice were criminal cases: Crawford v. Washington, concerning the admissibility of hearsay at criminal trials, and Blakely v. Washington, regarding the proper role of judges and juries in determining aggravating factors that justify harsher sentences. Each opinion left many unresolved issues that will require further court interpretation in future cases. In this article, we review the Court’s decisions in criminal cases and in habeas corpus actions challenging criminal convictions. In the next issue of Court Review, we will review the past term’s cases involving civil rights, the First Amendment, federalism, presidential power, and civil statutory interpretation.
Published in Court Review: The Journal of the American Judges Association, 41:1 (2004), pp. 30-41. Copyright © 2004 National Center for State Courts. Used by permission. Online at http://aja.ncsc.dni.us/htdocs/publications.htm.