Publication Date


Document Type

Survey Article


During 1980 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decided well over 200 cases in the constitutional law/criminal area, including direct criminal appeals, collateral attacks on both state and federal criminal convictions, and a handful of cases arising in other contexts. The typical opinion addresses and resolves multiple assignments of error, which compounds the difficulty of organizing decisions into precise, discrete categories. The quantity and diversity of litigation in the area requires that a survey be limited to a fraction of the decided cases. The selection process utilized in the preparation of this survey can only be described as arbitrary, with two criteria predominating. First, an attempt was made to discuss cases that more or less span the broad spectrum of issues in the area. Second, an attempt was made to select those cases that would be of most interest and value to the practitioner.