Vol. 4 No. 2, Spring 2013; The “Cowardly Counsel” Exception: Eliminating the Contemporaneous Objection Rule
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The contemporaneous objection rule is very clear and precise in its application. However, as the law stands in the Ninth Circuit, failure to contemporaneously object coupled with any mention of race by the sentencing judge is automatic grounds for resentencing. This article explores the origins of this exception to the contemporaneous objection rule. Next, it explores why these statements constitute harmless error on the part of the trial court. Finally, it explains why this “cowardly counsel” exception could have potentially devastating effects to the policies that underlie the contemporaneous objection rule.