Texas Tech Law Review
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals annually decides , or in some other way disposes of, several hundred cases which might be considered to fall within the topic of criminal law and procedure. Several conclusions can be drawn from the cases decided by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals during this survey period.
First, the court continues to adhere to a posture which reflects trust in the trial and pretrial process. That is, like most appellate courts, it views its role not as simply another forum for correcting all of the mistakes that have occurred in either the pretrial or trial process. Second, the court continues to present a united front in disposing of criminal law issues. Very few cases were marked with dissenting opinions. And in those few cases, the issues seemed close. Third, although several of the cases raised questions of first impression, such as the decision addressing the issue of compulsory urinalysis, most of the foregoing cases demonstrate the time-worn adage that "old" law is still good law. In reading the cases, one is left with the distinct impression that most of the issues have been addressed before and that the court views the newer cases as an extension of its precedent.
Finally, the Fifth Circuit has, for the most part, remained within the mainstream of the other circuits. In doing so, it has demonstrated a properly cautious attitude of permitting some issues to percolate and develop rather than rushing into breach and aggressively legislating a result.
David A. Schlueter, Criminal Law and Procedure, 19 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 483 (1988).