US Supreme Court issues 2 opinions in criminal cases

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This morning the US Supreme Court issued an opinion in Harbison v. Bell.  In a 7-2 decision the Court holds that federal habeas corpus counsel may represent a defendant in state clemency proceedings.

Yesterday the Court issued an opinion in Rivera v. Illinois.  The cases concerned an erroneous denial of a defense peremptory challenge of a potential juror.  The trial court refused the challenge on Batson grounds.  The Illinois Supreme Court found the district court's ruling to be erroneous but affirmed the conviction after finding that the denial of the challenge was not structural error.  The US Supreme Court affirmed and held that so long as all jurors seated in a criminal case are qualified and unbiased, the Due Process Clause does not require automatic reveral of a conviction based on the trial court's good faith error in denying a defense peremptory challenge.  It is an issue of state law, not a matter of federal constitutional law.


Three opinions were issued in civil cases:

14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett - courts must enforce a labor contract that requires workers to take claims of age bias to arbitration rather than court.

Entergy Corp. v. EPA - concerning the EPA's authority to compare costs and benefits when deciding what technology to require for structures that affect river and stream flows.

Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs - concerning the state's authority to sell state lands.

The Court also issued an opinion in Philip Morris USA, Inc. v. Williams, concerning punitive damages, in which it dismisses the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted.


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This page contains a single entry by JoNell published on April 1, 2009 8:33 AM.

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