__ U.S. __, 18-9261, Cottier v. United States

Docket Nº:18-9261
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
 
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Page __

__ U.S. __

140 S.Ct. 354

Calmer COTTIER

v.

UNITED STATES

No. 18-9261

United States Supreme Court

December 9, 2019

OPINION

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 Cottier’s 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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