Ouch –– Herald messes up on legal jargon

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My favorite law blogger comments on this Herald headline: “Supreme Court Justice cleared to hear case; conflict of interest claim dismissed.”

Not true. The “claim” in this instance was presented in the form of a written motion requesting that one justice be disqualified from hearing the merits (the substance of the legal arguments) of a criminal appeal, State v. Allen, that the motion is related to.

Motions generally end up being either granted or denied. Here, the result was neither: by effect of the 3-3 split on the court, the motion was not granted, but nor was it denied. Because the motion was not granted, the judge at whom it was directed may presumably participate in deciding the merits of State v. Allen.

Otherwise Amelia Vorpahl’s report is accurate enough,* but the headline is brutal. She needs to file a motion against her editor.

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