US Supreme Court: September 2009 Archives

US Supreme Court grants cert. in 10 cases

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Docket: 08-1470
Title: Berghuis, Warden v. Thompkins
Issue: Whether the Sixth Circuit expanded the Miranda rule to prevent an officer from attempting to non-coercively persuade a defendant to cooperate where the officer informed the defendant of his rights, the defendant acknowledged that he understood them, and the defendant did not invoke them but did not waive them.

Docket: 08-1402
Title: Berghuis, Warden v. Smith
Issue: Whether the Sixth Circuit erred in concluding that the Michigan Supreme Court failed to apply "clearly established Federal law" under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 when it rejected a state prisoner's Sixth Amendment fair cross-section claim and whether the Sixth Circuit erred in applying the comparative-disparity test (for evaluating the difference between the numbers of African Americans in the community as compared to the venires).

  • Opinion below (6th Circuit)
  • Petition for certiorari
  • Brief in opposition
  • Petitioner's reply
  • Brief amici curiae of Connecticut, and Six Other States

    Docket: 08-1521
    Title: McDonald, et al.  v. City of Chicago
    Issue: Whether the Second Amendment is incorporated into the Due Process Clause or the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment so as to be applicable to the States, thereby invalidating ordinances prohibiting possession of handguns in the home.

    Docket: 08-1569
    Title: United States v. O'Brien and Burgess
    Issue: Whether the mandatory minimum sentence enhancement under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) to a 30-year minimum when the firearm is a machinegun is an element of the offense that must be charged and proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, or instead a sentencing factor that may be found by a judge by the preponderance of the evidence.

    Docket: 08-1301
    Title: Carr v. United States
    Issue: Whether a person may be criminally prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 2250 for failure to register when the defendant's underlying offense and travel in interstate commerce both predated the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act's enactment ; whether the Ex Post Facto Clause precludes prosecution under § 2250(a) of a person whose underlying offense and travel in interstate commerce both predated SORNA's enactment.

    Docket: 08-974
    Title: Lewis et al. v. City of Chicago
    Issue: When an employer adopts an employment practice that discriminates against African Americans in violation of Title VII's disparate impact provision, must a plaintiff file an EEOC charge within 300 days after the announcement of the practice, or may a plaintiff file a charge within 300 days after the employer's use of the discriminatory practice?

    Docket: 08-1322
    Title: Astrue v. Ratliff
    Issue: Whether an "award of fees and other expenses" under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. 2412(d), is payable to the "prevailing party" rather than to the prevailing party's attorney, and therefore is subject to an offset for a pre-existing debt owed by the prevailing party to the United States.

    Docket: 08-1498 ; 09-89
    Title: Holder, Attorney General v. Humanitarian Law Project ; Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder
    Issue: Whether 18 U.S.C. 2339B(a)(1), which prohibits the knowing provision of "any *** service, *** training, [or] expert advice or assistance," to a designated foreign terrorist organization, is unconstitutionally vague; Whether the criminal prohibitions in 18 U.S.C. § 2339B(a)(1) on the provision of "expert advice or assistance" "derived from scientific [or] technical ... knowledge" and "personnel" are unconstitutional with respect to speech that furthers only lawful, nonviolent activities of proscribed organizations.



    Docket: 08-1529 ; 08-1547
    Title: Migliaccio, et al. v. Castaneda et al. ; Henneford v. Castaneda et al.
    Issue: Does 42 U.S.C. § 233(a) make the Federal Tort Claims Act the exclusive remedy for claims arising from medical care and related functions provided by Public Health Service personnel, thus barring Bivens actions?

    Docket: 08-1555
    Title: Samantar v. Bashe Abdi Yousuf, et al.
    Issue: . Whether a foreign state's immunity from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. § 1604, extends to an individual acting in his official capacity on behalf of a foreign state and whether an individual who is no longer an official of a foreign state at the time suit is filed retains immunity for acts taken in the individual's former capacity as an official acting on behalf of a foreign state.

    US Supreme Court holds conference today

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    The US Supreme Court is holding a conference today in which it will consider cert. petitions in a large number of cases.  Scotusblog previews several petitions which have a reasonable chance of being granted:

    Petitions to Watch I -

    Petitions to Watch II -

    Petitions to Watch III -

    Petitions to Watch IV -

    Petitions to Watch V

    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. § 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

    Scotusblog summarizes this morning's argument in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission here.  This is the second argument in the case.  The Court is again in recess until the first Monday in October.

    This and That

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    The Nevada Supreme will return another $2.5 million to the State General Fund.

    Justice Saitta has been chosen for a fellowship as one of 40 emerging state leaders.

    The Indigent Defense Commission will meet today from 10 to 2 at the Nevada Supreme Court chambers in Las Vegas and Carson City.

    On Friday, the Nevada Supreme Court denied OJ Simpson's motion for bail pending appeal.

    Chris Owens will now be the Assistant District Attorney for the Criminal Division.  Former ADA Christopher Lalli will rejoin the Major Violators Unit.

    Scotusblog previews a Nevada case that will be heard by the United States Supreme Court this fall: McDaniel v. Brown.

    In a couple of weeks there will be another shuffling of cases among some of the criminal judges in the 8th Judicial District.  Judges Bell and Silver will now handle criminal and civil cases.  Judge Mosley will be assigned fewer criminal cases and will now handle all misdemeanor appeals and foreclosure mediation appeals.  Some criminal cases will also be transferred from Judge Hardcastle.  Notices should be sent approximately one week prior to any court dates.

    About this Archive

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

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