Monday, October 16, 2006

Supreme Court Hears Argument on Whether Omission of Element from Indictment Can Be Harmless

Today the Supreme Court heard oral argument in United States v. Resendiz-Ponce (No. 05-998). The issue in the case is whether an indictment's failure to allege all of the elements of an offense can be harmless error. Depending on how the Court decides the case, it may also have something to say about the elements of attempted illegal reentry.

You can read SCOTUSblog's preview of the oral argument here, and the post-game here.

A transcript of today's argument is available here.

UPDATE: It now looks more likely that the Court will address the elements of attempted illegal reentry in one way or another. SCOTUSblog reports that the Court has requested supplemental briefing from the parties on this question: "Did the indictment omit an allegation that was required by the Fifth Amendment?" At issue here is whether an indictment for attempted illegal reentry must allege an overt act/substantial step towards the actual entry.


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