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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Judge Sotomayor and Criminal Law

Today, Alliance for Justice released a report and hosted a telebriefing for the press on Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s criminal law record. Legal Director Bill Yeomans and Ruth Goldman Fellow Brina Milikowsky were joined by Indiana University Professor of Law María Pabón López. Professor Lopez is also a member of Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary.

The call covered Judge Sotomayor’s record on constitutional protections for criminal defendants, approach to habeas corpus petitions and sentencing among other issues.

As Bill Yeomans observed, Judge Sotomayor “brings a wealth of experience in criminal law issues” given not only her time on the bench, but also the years she served in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Brina Milikowsky further noted that Judge Sotomayor, if confirmed, would “be the only sitting Supreme Court justice to have experience sitting as a district court judge and overseeing trials.”

Professor López noted that her criminal law jurisprudence, particularly in sentencing, “shows Judge Sotomayor’s real world experience.”

Overall, the report reveals a judge who is “a careful, prudent jurist who adheres strictly to precedent and tends to issue carefully-researched rulings on a case-by-case basis.”

You can read the full report here.

UPDATE: Read news coverage of the briefing in the Washington Post, National Journal Online, and Scripps Howard wire below.

Liberal Group Praises Sotomayor's Criminal Justice Rulings, The Washington Post, by Jerry Markon

Report Praises Sotomayor on Criminal Cases, National Journal Online, by Amy Harder

Sotomayor 'Tough' on Crime, Report Says, Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, by Anne Elliott

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