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Nominee's Criminal Rulings Tilt To Right Of Souter

Publication Date: 
June 05, 2009
The Wall Street Journal Online
Jess Bravin and Nathan Koppel

Professor Jeffrey Fisher is quoted in The Wall Street Journal Online in an article that discusses where Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor stands in her rulings when it comes to criminal justice:

While Judge Sonia Sotomayor stands in the liberal mainstream on many issues, her record suggests that the Supreme Court nominee could sometimes rule with the top court's conservatives on questions of criminal justice.


In the Fourth Amendment case in 1999, Judge Sotomayor ruled against Anthony Santa, who was sentenced to 30 months after officers in Spring Valley, N.Y., arrested him and found 2.95 grams of crack cocaine.

Mr. Santa's lawyer said the arrest and search were improper, because officers were acting on a warrant from a neighboring town that had been canceled two years earlier. The Supreme Court had earlier ruled that such mistakes didn't invalidate evidence if court officials were responsible. The issue of responsibility was in dispute in this case, but Judge Sotomayor's ruling assumed the police had acted appropriately and upheld the sentence.

Jeffrey Fisher, a Stanford Law School professor who was on the losing side of the January Supreme Court decision, says Judge Sotomayor's ruling demonstrates a "willingness to give police the benefit of the doubt."