The Supreme Court refused to hear eight different criminal procedure cases today, leaving us with only two for this term. The cases shot down covered topics (among others) from funding indigent defense expert witnesses, invoking your right to counsel, actual innocence exceptions to procedural requirements, Brady v. Maryland issues and one I was really looking forward to: Acosta v. Texas which asked the court to decide whether Texas Penal Code Section 34.23 (c) (1) was unconstitutional, in that it prohibited the use of dildo devices.
Acosta’s attorneys presented great arguments as to why their Cert petition should have been granted, but to no avail. As readers of this blog no doubt already know, I am concerned here as usual about the standards used in deciding the constitutionality of these laws, rather than the effects themselves.
Like my commitment to blogging about useless drug prohibition laws, this statute fits into a similar category. Here’s a law that perhaps the majority of the public thinks is silly (in fact, it is a felony offense in Texas). Yet, it’s too much of a political hot potato for the Texas Legislature to ever address it. So, it remains on the books.
There were so many interesting Lawrence v. Texas issues, as well as general ninth amendment issues that the court should have granted cert here. Oh well, it may be a slow term for criminal decisions after all.