Justice Kennedy on Solitary Confinement

June 19th New York Times had an Editorial “Justice Kennedy on Solitary Confimenet” highlighting Justice Kennedy’s concurrence on Davis v. Ayala, a case challenging the prosecutor’s dismissal of all seven Black/Hispanic.

The Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Hector Ayala, who has been on California’s death row for 25 years, turned on the question of whether a judge could hear a prosecutor’s reasons for dismissing people from the jury pool without the defendant’s lawyer being present. On Thursday, the court ruled 5-4 that excluding the lawyer was a harmless error. That result was perhaps not surprising from the court’s conservative majority. What was remarkable, however, was Justice Anthony Kennedy’s remarks, in his concurring opinion, about Mr. Ayala’s decades in solitary confinement. While he agreed with the majority on the result, Mr. Kennedy wrote separately to address what has become one of his most pressing concerns: America’s broken criminal justice system in general, and prolonged solitary confinement in particular.

Read Justice Kennedy’s concurrence (pp.33) here.

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