May 14, 2008 Supremes: Constitutional for lawyers to agree to magistrate judge jury selection
Supreme Court spiral staircase.
On May 12, 2008, the United States Supreme Court affirmed a conviction where the defendant’s lawyer agreed to magistrate judge-run jury selection, even though the defendant was not asked directly on the record whether he so consented. Gonzalez v. U.S., ___ U.S. ___ (May 12, 2008).
This case is worth reading both for the majority opinion and for Justice Thomas’s dissent, in which he insists that defendants — not their lawyers — personally have the opportunity to say aye or nay on the record about having a magistrate judge conduct jury selection. As much as I did not want Justice Thomas to join the Supreme Court and still feel the same way, I thank him for his dissent in Gonzalez .