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Upcoming Events

Thursday, September 18, 2014
12:10 PM - 1:10 PM
Drinko 244

OSJCL's Note-Writing Meeting

Upcoming Supreme Court Oral Arguments

With the United States Supreme Court back in session, some exciting oral arguments are fast approaching in the coming months.  Below is a summary of the criminal cases that will be argued in the next few months.  Included with the summaries are the briefs and lower opinions.


Johnson v. Williams
Oral argument date: October 3
Decision Below: 646 F.3d 626
Holding Below:

(1) decision by the Supreme Court of California to deny a petition for review is not a decision on the merits;
(2) intermediate appellate state court did not adjudicate defendant’s Sixth Amendment claim on the merits, and thus, federal habeas review of the claim was de novo; and
(3) trial court violated defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial by dismissing a juror, who was known to be the lone holdout for acquittal.

Williams v. Cavazos, 646 F.3d 626, 626 (9th Cir. 2011).

Questions presented:

  1. Whether a habeas petitioner’s claim has been “adjudicated on the merits” for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) where the state court denied relief in an explained decision but did not expressly acknowledge a federal-law basis for the claim.
  2. Whether, under § 2254, a federal habeas court (a) may grant relief on the ground that the petitioner had a Sixth Amendment right to retain a biased juror on the panel and (b) may reject a state court’s finding of juror bias because it disagrees with the finding and the reasons stated for it, even where the finding was rationally supported by evidence in the state-court record.

The Supreme Court of the United States, 11-465 JOHNSON V. WILLIAMS, http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/11-00465qp.pdf (last visited Oct. 9, 2012).

Documents:


Tibbals v. Carter
Oral argument date: October 9
Decision Below: 644 F.3d 329
Holding Below:

(1) District Court was within its discretion in conducting a competency hearing;
(2) prisoner’s incompetence did not warrant equitably tolling AEDPA‘s limitations period prospectively;
(3) appointment of a next friend to litigate prisoner’s petition on his behalf was not warranted with respect to his ineffective assistance of counsel claims; and
(4) rather than dismissing the petition and prospectively tolling AEDPA‘s limitations period, the District Court should have stayed the proceedings.

Carter v. Bradshaw, 644 F.3d 329, 329 (6th Cir. 2011).

Questions presented:

  1. Do capital prisoners possess a “right to competence” in federal habeas proceedings under Rees v. Peyton, 384 U.S. 312 (1966)?
  2. 2. Can a federal district court order an indefinite stay of a federal habeas proceeding under Rees?

The Supreme Court of the United States, 11-218 TIBBALS V. CARTER, http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/11-00218qp.pdf (last visited Oct. 9, 2012).
Documents:


Ryan v. Gonzales
Oral argument date: October 9
Decision Below: 646 F.3d 626
Holding Below:

(1) prisoner was entitled to a stay pending a competency determination.

Williams v. Cavazos, 646 F.3d 626, 626 (9th Cir. 2011).

Question presented:

  1. Did the Ninth Circuit err when it held that 18 U.S.C. § 3599(a)(2)-which provides that an indigent capital state inmate pursuing federal habeas relief “shall be entitled to the appointment of one or more attorneys”-impliedly entitles a death row inmate to stay the federal habeas proceedings he initiated if he is not competent to assist counsel?

The Supreme Court of the United States, 10-930 RYAN V. GONZALES, http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/10-00930qp.pdf  (last visited Oct. 9, 2012).

Documents:


Moncrieffe v. Holder
Oral argument date: October 10
Decision Below: 662 F.3d 387
Holding Below:

(1) The Court of Appeals, Edith H. Jones, Chief Judge, held that alien’s Georgia conviction for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute qualified as felony drug offense under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), rendering alien removable.

Moncrieffe v. Holder, 662 F.3d 387, 387 (5th Cir. 2011).

Questions presented:

  1. Whether a conviction under a provision of state law that encompasses but is not limited to the distribution of a small amount of marijuana without remuneration constitutes an aggravated felony, notwithstanding that the record of conviction does not establish that the alien was convicted of conduct that would constitute a federal law felony.

The Supreme Court of the United States, 11-702 MONCRIEFFE V. HOLDER, http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/11-00702qp.pdf  (last visited Oct. 9, 2012).

Documents:


Chaidez v. United States
Oral argument date: October 30
Decision Below: 655 F.3d 684
Holding Below:

(1) The Court of Appeals, Flaum, Circuit Judge, held that Padilla v. Kentucky announced a new rule of criminal procedure inapplicable on collateral review.

Chaidez v. United States, 655 F.3d 684, 684 (7th Cir. 2011).

Questions presented:

  1. Whether Padilla applies to persons whose convictions became final before its announcement.

The Supreme Court of the United States, 11-820 CHAIDEZ V. UNITED STATES, http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/11-00820qp.pdf  (last visited Oct. 9, 2012).

Documents:


Smith v. United States
Oral argument date: November 6
Decision Below: 651 F.3d 30
Holding Below:

(1) court appropriately exercised its Batson responsibilities;
(2) defendants failed to sufficiently undermine government’s race-neutral explanations for its peremptory strikes of prospective African–American jurors.

United States v. Moore, 651 F.3d 30, 30 (D.C. Cir. 2011).

Questions presented:

  1. Whether in reviewing a claim under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), an appellate court must 1) apply de novo review where a federal trial judge failed to make specific findings on the question whether the prosecution’s proffered justifications for challenged peremptory strikes were pretextual; and 2) review each of the government’s explanations for each challenged strike where the prosecution proffered multiple explanations for certain peremptory strikes.
  2. Whether withdrawing from a conspiracy prior to the statute of limitations period negates an element of a conspiracy charge such that, once a defendant meets his burden of production that he did so withdraw, the burden of persuasion rests with the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was a member of the conspiracy during the relevant period — a fundamental due process question that is the subject of a well-developed circuit split.

The Supreme Court of the United States, 11-8976 SMITH V. UNITED STATES, http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/11-08976qp.pdf  (last visited Oct. 9, 2012).

Documents:


Bailey v. United States
Oral argument date: October 30
Decision Below: 652 F.3d 197
Holding Below:

(1) on matter of first impression, detention of defendant during search of his residence was justified although detention did not occur until he was one mile from residence.

United States v. Bailey, 652 F.3d 197, 197 (2d Cir. 2011).

Questions presented:

  1. Whether, pursuant to Michigan v. Summers, 452 U.S. 692 (1981), police officers may detain an individual incident to the execution of a search warrant when the individual has left the immediate vicinity of the premises before the warrant is executed.

The Supreme Court of the United States, 11-770 BAILEY V. UNITED STATES, http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/11-00770qp.pdf  (last visited Oct. 9, 2012).

Documents:


Evans v. Michigan
Oral argument date: November 6
Decision Below: 491 Mich. 1
Holding Below:

(1) The Supreme Court, Zahra, J., held that directed verdict, order of acquittal, and dismissal of case was not an acquittal for double jeopardy purposes.

People v. Evans, 491 Mich. 1, 810 N.W.2d 535 (2012).

Questions presented:

  1. Does the Double Jeopardy Clause bar retrial after the trial judge erroneously holds a particular fact to be an element of the offense and then grants a midtrial directed verdict of acquittal because the prosecution failed to prove that fact?

The Supreme Court of the United States, 11-1327 EVANS V. MICHIGAN, http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/11-01327qp.pdf  (last visited Oct. 9, 2012).

Documents:


Florida v. Jardines
Oral argument date: October 31
Decision Below: 73 So.3d 34
Holding Below:

(1) a “sniff test” by a drug detection dog conducted at the front door of a private residence constitutes a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and, as such, must be preceded by an evidentiary showing of wrongdoing;
(2) probable cause, not reasonable suspicion, is the proper evidentiary showing of wrongdoing that the government must make under the Fourth Amendment prior to conducting a dog “sniff test” at a private residence; and
(3) lawfully obtained evidence in search warrant affidavit did not establish probable cause to support issuance of search warrant for defendant’s residence.

Jardines v. State, 73 So. 3d 34, 34 (Fla. 2011).

Questions presented:

  1. Whether a dog sniff at the front door of a suspected grow house by a trained narcotics detection dog is a Fourth Amendment search requiring probable cause?
  2. Whether the officers’ conduct during the investigation of the grow house, including remaining outside the house awaiting a search warrant is, itself, a Fourth Amendment search?

The Supreme Court of the United States, 11-564 FLORIDA V. JARDINES, http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/11-00564qp.pdf  (last visited Oct. 9, 2012).

Documents:


Florida v. Harris
Oral argument date: October 31
Decision Below: 71 So.3d 756
Holding Below:

(1) State did not meet its burden of demonstrating that officer had a reasonable basis for believing that drug-detection dog was reliable and, thus, that dog’s alert to the exterior of vehicle provided probable cause to conduct search;
(2) totality of the circumstances did not provide probable cause to conduct search;
(3) fact that a drug-detection dog has been trained and certified to detect narcotics, standing alone, is not sufficient to demonstrate the reliability of the dog for purposes of determining probable cause for a search, disapproving State v. Laveroni, 910 So.2d 333, and State v. Coleman, 911 So.2d 259;
(4) to demonstrate that an officer has a reasonable basis for believing that an alert by a drug-detection dog is sufficiently reliable to provide probable cause to search, the State must present certain evidence; and
(5) a trial court must assess the reliability of a drug-detection dog’s alert based on a totality of the circumstances.

Harris v. State, 71 So. 3d 756, 756 (Fla. 2011).

Questions presented:

  1. Whether the Florida Supreme Court has decided an important federal question in a way that conflicts with the established Fourth Amendment precedent of this Court by holding that an alert by a well-trained narcotics detection dog certified to detect illegal contraband is insufficient to establish probable cause for the search of a vehicle?

The Supreme Court of the United States, 11-817 FLORIDA V. HARRIS, http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/11-00817qp.pdf  (last visited Oct. 9, 2012).

Documents:


Henderson v. United States
Oral argument date: November 28
Decision Below: 646 F.3d 223
Holding Below:

(1) motion to correct sentence did not preserve claim of error, and
(2) error was not plain.

United States v. Henderson, 646 F.3d 223, 233 (5th Cir. 2011) abrogated by United States v. Escalante-Reyes, 689 F.3d 415 (5th Cir. 2012).

Questions presented:

  1. When the governing law is unsettled at the time of trial but settled in the defendant’s favor by the time of appeal, should an appellate court reviewing for “plain error” apply Johnson’s time-of-appeal standard, as the First, Second, Sixth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits do, or should the appellate court apply the Ninth Circuit’s time-of-trial standard, which the D.C. Circuit and the panel below have adopted?

The Supreme Court of the United States, 11-9307 HENDERSON V. UNITED STATES, http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/11-09307qp.pdf  (last visited Oct. 9, 2012).

Documents: