Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Glenn Marcus: The S&M Svengali

The Supreme Court Case

Supreme Court building
Supreme Court building

Naturally, the Justice Department appealed, and the Supreme Court took the case. Sotomayor had since become a member of the Supreme Court, but recused herself in the high court's handling of the case. The primary question before the Court was: "Did the court of appeals abuse its discretion by reviewing as 'plain error,' under Rule 52(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a defendant's claim, raised for the first time on appeal, that his conviction violated the Ex Post Facto Clause because the relevant criminal statutes were not enacted until nearly two years after most acts charged in the indictment occurred — and, the government concedes the defendant could have been convicted exclusively on conduct that took place before the statute's enactment?"

Or: Can a court convict someone on the basis of actions occurring both before and after the law making those actions illegal is passed?

In May 2010, the Court ruled 7-1 that Marcus's original conviction should stay intact. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote: "Given the tiny risk that the jury would have based its conviction upon those few pre-enactment days alone, a refusal to recognize such an error as a 'plain error,' [and set aside the verdict] is most unlikely to cast serious doubt on the fairness, integrity or public reputation of the judicial system."

And with that, Marcus, the master, was made a prisoner, sentenced to serving the rest of his sentence in a cage not unlike the one in which he had Jodi and his other slaves spend so many hours of their lives. And the prison guards and other prisoners don't use safe words, either.

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