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The · Psychohistorian


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Ever posted something to the web in haste, then found that what you posted was the opposite of what you meant?

Well, you're not alone. In the PDF version of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Rivera v Illinois, the syllabus (summary) says:

"The Illinois Supreme Court ... held that the denial of Rivera's peremptory challenge was not a structural error requiring automatic reversal. Nor, the court found, was the error harmless beyond a reasonable doubt."

Huh? If the error was not harmless, shouldn't Rivera get a new trial or something? But the opinion says:

"The Supreme Court of Illinois ... further held that the error was harmless and therefore did not warrant reversal of Rivera's conviction."

Okay, that makes more sense. At least the actual justices are careful about what they are writing. Let's just hope lawyers and the lower courts are as careful when they read the decision.
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