Steve and I seem to have escaped New Year's Day unscathed, although just a few days into the year, we've already had to purchase a new water heater. Large, unforseen expenses aside, I'm considering our longstanding 1/1 Curse vanquished, at least for now.
On the work front, however, my year is commencing poorly. My 2006 record was superb, as I batted something like .600 for the season. In habeas, as in baseball, that's practically unheard-of.
2007, on the other hand, is thus far striking me out. On Friday, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case I felt was truly cert-worthy. I'd held out a shred of hope that the Court might agree, since they'd directed the government to respond, but alas, no. This is likely the end of the road for my client's efforts to overturn a conviction of which he is legally innocent (but, according to the courts, not innocent enough. Or something).
And today, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the conviction of another client, agreeing with me that his constitutional rights were violated, but deeming the egregious error "harmless." I find little solace in the Court's decision, which tracks my briefs and arguments for 24 pages and then diverges, in the only way that matters, for the final 2. I'm not sure yet how to break this devastating news to my client, who was sentenced to life without parole at the ripe old age of 16.
These kinds of losses are routine, predictable, but nevertheless crushing. Per office protocol, I'll allow myself 24 hours to wallow in my righteous indignation, anger, frustration, and sadness. Beyond that, lies burnout.