US Supreme Court: March 2009 Archives

US Supreme Court issues 2 opinions

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Yesterday the Court issued an opinion in Knowles v. Mirzayance.  Justice Thomas authored a unanimous opinion as to the result and the finding of no prejudice, and a 6-3 decision on an issue of whether counsel's performance was deficient.  The Court reversed a decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which had held that trial counsel was ineffective for counseling a client to withdraw a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity after concluding that such a theory was not viable.

Today the Court issued an opinion in Puckett v. United States.  In the 7-2 decision, authored by Justice Scalia, the Court held that under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 52(b), a defendant was obligated to object at a sentence hearing to the State's violation of the plea agreement.  Because the defendant failed to do so, a plain-error standard of review was applied to the unpreserved issue.  Justice Souter issued a dissenting opinion which was joined by Justice Stevens.

US Supreme Court issues 4 opinions

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Vermont v. Brillion - The Vermont Supreme Court held that counsel assigned to represent an indigent client were state actors for the purpose of a speedy trial violation and attributed delays caused by assigned counsel to the State for analysis under the Barker v. Wingo test.  The US Supreme Court reversed this holding and held that assigned counsel, just as retained counsel, act on behalf of their clients and delays sought by counsel are ordinarily attributable to the defendants they represent.  The Vermont Supreme Court also failed to adequately take into account the role of the defendant's own disruptive behavior (he had six attorneys - he "fired" one and threatened to kill another).  Delay resulting from a systemic breakdown in the public defender system, however, could be charged to the State.  The opinion was authored by Justice Ginsburg.  Justice Breyer authored a dissenting opinion that was joined by Justice Stevens.

Kansas v. Colorado - calculation of witness fees for cases within the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction.  Justice Alito authored an opinion for the unanimous Court.  Justice Roberts authored a concurring opinion which was joined by Justice Souter.

Vaden v. Discover Bank - arbitration, federal claims and jurisdiction.

Bartlett v. Strickland - redistricting and the Voting Rights Act.  In a 5-4 decision the Court holds that the federal voting rights law does not require the creation of a new legislative district when that would include a racial minority group that has less than 50 percent of the population, as a remedy when minority voters' rights have been diluted.  Scotusblog provides analysis of the decision.

The Court granted certiorari in one case - Jones v. Harris Associates.  It addresses shareholder claims and the Investment Company Act.  Scotusblog provides links to the opinion below and cert. filings.

US Supreme Court issues 2 opinions

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Negusie v. Holder - An alien who fears persecution in his homeland and seeks refugee status in this court is barred from obtaining that relief if he has persecuted others.  The Board of Immigration Appeals determined that the persecutor bar applies even if the alien's assistance in persecution was coerced or otherwise the product of duress.  The US Supreme Court reversed that holding as the BIA misaplied the Fedorenko case in making its interpretation.

Summers v. Earth Island Institute - concerns standing to challenge Forest Service regulations.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the US Supreme Court category from March 2009.

US Supreme Court: February 2009 is the previous archive.

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