__ U.S. __, 18-9261, Cottier v. United States
|Citation:||__ U.S. __, 140 S.Ct. 354|
|Party Name:||Calmer COTTIER v. UNITED STATES|
|Judge Panel:||Statement of Justice SOTOMAYOR respecting the denial of certiorari.|
|Case Date:||December 09, 2019|
|Court:||United States Supreme Court|
The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
Statement of Justice SOTOMAYOR respecting the denial of certiorari.
For his alleged role in a group beating, petitioner Calmer Cottier was charged with, among other things, second-degree murder by an Indian in Indian country. Two other participants accepted plea deals with the Government; as part of their pleas, the participants signed statements— known as factual-basis statements— that implicated Cottier in the murder. A federal prosecutor also signed those inculpatory statements to vouch for their veracity. Then, that same prosecutor offered those same incriminating statements as evidence at Cottiers trial.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit observed that the court in which Cottier was prosecuted "routinely" sends unredacted factual-basis statements into the jury room. 908 F.3d 1141, 1149 (2018). I agree with the Eighth Circuit that this practice is "troubling." Ibid. By presenting the jury with a factual-basis statement signed by the Government, the prosecution improperly expresses its "personal belief " in the truth of the witness statements— a stamp of approval, an...
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