US Supreme Court criminal cases preview

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Alvarez v. Smith - Whether local law enforcement agencies may seize and retain custody indefinitely of personal property without judicial or administrative review of the lawfulness of the continued detention of the property. Argument scheduled for 10/14/09

Beard v. Kindler.  Under the adequate-state-ground doctrine, does a state procedural rule like Pennsylvania's fugitive waiver rule preclude federal habeas corpus review even though the state procedural rule is discretionary?Argument scheduled for 11/2/09.

Black v. United States - Whether the "honest services" clause of 18 U.S.C. ยง 1346 applies in cases where the jury did not find - nor did the district court instruct them that they had to find - that the defendants "reasonably contemplated identifiable economic harm," and if the defendants' reversal claim is preserved for review after they objected to the government's request for a special verdict.

Bloate v. United States -  Whether time granted at the request of a defendant to prepare pretrial motions qualifies as "delay resulting from other proceedings concerning the defendant" and is thus excludable from the time within which trial must commence under the Speedy Trial Act of 1974, 18 U.S.C. 3161 et seq. Argument scheduled for 10/6/09.

Briscoe v. Virginia - If a state allows a prosecutor to introduce a certificate of a forensic laboratory analysis, without presenting the testimony of the analyst who prepared the certificate, does the state avoid violating the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment by providing that the accused has a right to call the analyst as his own witness?

Florida v. Powell - Must a suspect be expressly advised to his right to counsel during questioning and if so, does the failure to provide this express advice vitiate Miranda v. Arizona?  

Graham v. Florida - Whether the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishments prohibits the imprisonment of a juvenile for life without the possibility of parole as punishment for the juvenile's commission of non-homicide.Argument scheduled for 11/9/09

Hemi Group v. New York City - Whether city government meets the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act standing requirement that a plaintiff be directly injured in its "business or property" by alleging non commercial injury resulting from non payment of taxes by non litigant third parties. Argument scheduled for 11/3/09

Johnson v. United States - Whether under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act a prior state conviction for battery is in all cases a "violent felony," even when the state held that offense does not have as an element the use or threatened use of physical force.  Argument scheduled for 10/6/09  

Maryland v. Shatzer - Whether Edwards v. Arizona (1981), which bars police from initiating questioning with criminal suspects who have invoked their right to counsel, applies to an interrogation that takes place nearly three years later. Argument scheduled for 10/5/09 

McDaniel v. Brown - Nevada case - Whether, on federal habeas review, the evidence underlying the defendant's conviction for sexual assault was clearly insufficient under Jackson v. Virginia (1979).  Argument taken off calendar.

Padilla v. Kentucky - Does the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of effective assistance of counsel require a criminal defense attorney to advise a non-citizen client that pleading guilty to an aggravated felony will trigger mandatory, automatic deportation, and if that misadvice about deportation induces a guilty plea, can that misadvice amount to ineffective assistance of counsel and warrant setting aside the guilty plea? Argument scheduled for 10/13/09  

Pottawattamie County v. McGhee - Whether a prosecutor may be subjected to a civil trial and potential damages for a wrongful conviction and incarceration where the prosecutor allegedly violated a criminal defendant's "substantive due process" rights by procuring false testimony during the criminal investigation, and then introduced that same testimony against the criminal defendant at trial.  Argument scheduled for 11/4/09

Smith v. Spisak - Did the Sixth Circuit contravene AEDPA by improperly extending Mills v. Maryland [re: mitigation jury instructions in a capital case]? Argument scheduled for 10/13/09

Sullivan v. Florida - Does imposition of a life without parole sentence on a thirteen-year-old for a non-homicide violate the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, where the freakishly rare imposition of such a sentence reflects a national consensus on the reduced criminal culpability of children?  Argument scheduled for 11/9/09

United States v. Comstock - Whether Congress had the constitutional authority to enact 18 U.S.C. 4248, which authorizes court-ordered civil commitment by the federal government of (1) "sexually dangerous" persons who are already in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, but who are coming to the end of their federal prison sentences, and (2) "sexually dangerous" persons who are in the custody of the Attorney General because they have been found mentally incompetent to stand trial.

United States v. Stevens - Is 18 U.S.C. 48, on depictions of animal cruelty, facially invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment? Argument scheduled for 10/6/09

Weyhrauch v. United States - Whether, to convict a state official for depriving the public of its right to the defendant's honest services through the non-disclosure of material information, in violation of the mail-fraud statute (18 U.S.C. Sec. 1341 and 1346), the government must prove that the defendant violated a disclosure duty imposed by state law.

Wood v. Allen - Whether the state court's conclusion-that during the sentencing phase of a capital case the defense attorney's failure to present the defendant's impaired mental functioning did not constitute ineffective counsel-was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts and whether the circuit court erred in its application of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) to the review of the state court decision.  Argument scheduled for 11/4/09


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This page contains a single entry by JoNell published on September 14, 2009 8:36 AM.

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