Petition of the day

Petition of the dayThe petition of the day is: Maricopa County, Arizona v. Villa 17-862 Issue: Whether Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which states that “the principal prosecuting attorney” of a state or locality may apply for an order authorizing the interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications, 18 U.S.C. § 2516(2), […]

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Petition of the day

The petition of the day is:

17-862

Issue: Whether Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which states that “the principal prosecuting attorney” of a state or locality may apply for an order authorizing the interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications, 18 U.S.C. § 2516(2), allows a principal prosecuting attorney to delegate the task of applying for such an order to a subordinate.

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Argument analysis: Concern for death-row inmate’s rights likely to trump line-drawing worries

Argument analysis: Concern for death-row inmate’s rights likely to trump line-drawing worriesThe Supreme Court heard oral argument today in the case of Robert McCoy, a Louisiana death-row inmate who says that he should get a new trial because his own lawyer told jurors that he was guilty – over McCoy’s express objection. After just over an hour of spirited debate, the justices seemed sympathetic to McCoy’s […]

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Argument analysis: Concern for death-row inmate’s rights likely to trump line-drawing worries

The Supreme Court heard oral argument today in the case of Robert McCoy, a Louisiana death-row inmate who says that he should get a new trial because his own lawyer told jurors that he was guilty – over McCoy’s express objection. After just over an hour of spirited debate, the justices seemed sympathetic to McCoy’s plight, even if they were less certain about the legal principle on which they might rely to rule in his favor.

The case before the court today dates back to 2011, when McCoy was tried on three counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of his estranged wife’s mother, stepfather and son. McCoy maintained that he was not in the state when the murders occurred, and that he was being framed by local police. But his attorney, Larry English, believed that the evidence against McCoy was “overwhelming,” and that his best chance to save McCoy’s life was to concede McCoy’s guilt and try to convince the jurors that McCoy hadn’t intended to kill anyone. English’s strategy backfired: McCoy was convicted and sentenced to death.

Arguing for McCoy today, former U.S. solicitor general Seth Waxman emphasized that the Constitution “guarantees a personal defense that belongs to the accused, and whether to admit or contest guilt is the paradigmatic example of that personal defense, not only because it singularly affects the life and liberty of the accused, but also because making that decision requires weighing subjective aspirations and value judgments that are unique to every individual.” Waxman spent much of his time at the lectern, however, addressing an issue first raised by Chief Justice John Roberts: How widely would his proposed rule apply? Or, put another way, how should courts figure out what kinds of decisions and strategies are sufficiently important to warrant a new trial if a lawyer disregards his client’s wishes?

Seth P. Waxman for petitioner (Art Lien)

Waxman tried to limit the potential reach of his rule, telling Roberts that a criminal defense lawyer “may not stand up and affirmatively vouch, admit that his client is guilty.”

Roberts was not mollified, asking Waxman whether a defense lawyer could make a smaller concession, such as whether a defendant had crossed state lines. Justice Samuel Alito also seemed troubled by the prospect that a defense lawyer “cannot concede any element of the offense.”

Then Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the fray, suggesting that specific pieces of evidence could also sometimes be “far more important than an element of the offense.” If so, he asked, why wouldn’t an inmate be entitled to a new trial if a defendant wanted to keep the evidence from being revealed to the jury but his lawyer didn’t see a good reason to object to its admission?

Waxman pushed back sharply, trying to return the court to the bigger picture. He told Gorsuch that he has been representing death-row inmates for 40 years. What those inmates care about, Waxman declared, “and what they have an autonomy, dignitary right to have protected is” their decision to assert their innocence.

Justice Stephen Breyer was more broadly troubled. He voiced what he described as a “very practical concern” – the idea that many criminal defendants “are just not really capable of managing their own defense.” But when defendants like McCoy have attorneys, he continued, “a constitutional rule that’s going to tell the lawyer how to argue his case” will mean that “lawyers will have a hard time defending this person. And you’re walking right into jail when you start telling your lawyer how to run this case.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor seemed to regard such an outcome as unfortunate but inevitable. “People can walk themselves into jail,” she said. “They can walk themselves, regrettably, into the gas chamber. But they have a right to tell their story.”

Perhaps keeping the justices’ questions for Waxman in mind, Louisiana solicitor general Elizabeth Murrill offered a narrow rule that would allow the state to prevail in this case without requiring the justices to establish a rule to govern other, more difficult scenarios. At least in some death-penalty cases, she told the justices, an attorney “sometimes might be required to override his client on a trial strategy when the strategy that the client wants him to pursue is a futile charade and requires him to defeat both their objectives of defeating the death penalty.”

Elizabeth Murrill, solicitor general of Louisiana (Art Lien)

But Murrill quickly ran into a barrage of questions from the court. Sotomayor asked why the state’s proposed rule would only apply to the death penalty.

Justice Elena Kagan was also skeptical. The Supreme Court, she said, has “given lawyers a lot of leeway to make quite a number of decisions” during their defense. But in a case like this one, in which the defendant says he has an “overriding objective” of not admitting that he killed his family members, she queried, why can an attorney “say it doesn’t matter.”

Murrill countered that the lawyer’s “ultimate objective is to try to do the right thing for his client, to defeat the death penalty and save his life.”

Kagan was still unconvinced. She acknowledged that English was in a “terrible position.” But defeating the death penalty wasn’t McCoy’s top concern, she pointed out.

Gorsuch also seemed to side with McCoy. He asked Murrill why English’s actions weren’t a “structural error” – an error that is so fundamental that his conviction should automatically be reversed.

With the state facing opposition, Alito expressed frustration that McCoy’s case had even gotten to this point. McCoy may not have been competent to stand trial, he observed, and the judge denied a request to allow English to withdraw from representing McCoy.

In the end, although the justices were clearly concerned about how to draw a line between the kinds of scenarios that would require reversal when a lawyer disregards his client’s wishes and those that would not, those concerns generally appear to have been outweighed by a desire to allow a defendant in McCoy’s position to make his own decisions, however unwise.

A decision is expected by late June.

This post was originally published at Howe on the Court.

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A “view” from the courtroom: Any coffee or doughnuts here?

A “view” from the courtroom: Any coffee or doughnuts here?There are some 40,000 job classifications in the United States (a figure used by Justice Stephen Breyer today). Under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, many are eligible for overtime pay. Many others are expressly exempt, either under the statute or under Department of Labor regulations. Of all those jobs, only one has come […]

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A “view” from the courtroom: Any coffee or doughnuts here?

There are some 40,000 job classifications in the United States (a figure used by Justice Stephen Breyer today). Under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, many are eligible for overtime pay. Many others are expressly exempt, either under the statute or under Department of Labor regulations.

Of all those jobs, only one has come under scrutiny in the Supreme Court twice in the last three terms over whether it is exempt from overtime pay — service advisor in an automobile dealership. In Encino Motorcars LLC v. Navarro, the justices will once again attempt to answer whether the employee who greets you in the dealership service department is eligible for overtime.

Of course, many of the jobs of the new economy would mystify Americans of 1938 — computer systems analyst, database security administrator, desktop publisher, ride-hailing driver and virtual assistant. These are all from the Labor Department’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, which still lists thousands of old-economy jobs and tends to toss a lot of newer ones into broader, traditional categories.

Before we get to the Encino Motorcars argument, there is a special job classification being used in the courtroom today — sign-language interpreter for the deaf. For at least the second time in two years, the court is swearing in several members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association, and it has permitted two sign-language interpreters to sign the court’s two arguments this morning. In addition, as it did when I wrote about a previous visit of the bar group in 2016, the court is allowing Communication Access Realtime Translation, or CART. Several of the bar-group members have brought their smartphones or tablets into the bar section to follow the arguments on screen. (It’s a special secure wi-fi system active only for occasions such as this.)

Paul D. Clement for petitioner (note, deaf lawyer in foreground using handheld device to follow argument) (Art Lien)

Once new bar members have been sworn in, Paul Clement steps to the lectern for Encino Motorcars, as he did in 2016.

In the first go-around, the court held that a 2011 interpretation of the overtime-pay provision of the FSLA had been issued without “reasoned explanation” and that a lower court had to construe the case without placing weight on the department’s interpretation.

As I wrote here when the opinion came down in June 2016, the first iteration of the case was “a bit of an eye-opener” about how the friendly service advisor is “often a commissioned salesperson charged with trying to upsell you on certain parts and services.”

Today, Clement says, “Service advisors are plainly salespeople, and what they sell and what they are primarily engaged in is the servicing of automobiles.”

Thus, the nation’s 100,000 service advisors are covered under a 1966 amendment to the FSLA that made any salesman, partsman or mechanic exempt from overtime pay, he argues.

In response to a question from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clement points out that although there are other jobs at the typical dealership that are not exempt, there is at least one other example of a job considered a separate category but still treated as part of one of the exempt categories.

“The example would be automobile body repairmen,” Clement says, which the Labor Department has always treated as exempt “just like mechanics in the repair shop.’

Justice Elena Kagan engages Clement at some length, challenging him on the repairman comparison.

“It does seem as though, for all the arguments that you do have, that one cuts against you, that, you know, just the ordinary meaning of what it means to be engaged in servicing automobiles is to be repairing, maintaining, fixing cars,” Kagan says, suggesting that service advisors don’t do that.

“I’d love to talk to you about some of the other arguments you seem to like better, but let me try to push back a little bit on this one,” Clement says, noting that service can have a broader meaning of providing the service. His argument is bolstered, he says, by Congress’ inclusion of “partsman” in the statute, because partsmen requisition, order and stock parts but don’t get under the hood and “turn the wrenches” on vehicles.

Kagan presses a hypothetical involving seamstresses, and after some back and forth, Clement tries to suggest that Kagan had designed a lot of hypotheticals “and you probably gave me one of the best ones.”

“Now you’re daring me,” Kagan says, to laughter in the courtroom.

James Feldman of the Supreme Court Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School steps to the lectern on behalf of a group of service advisors at Encino Motorcars, a Mercedes-Benz dealership. Stephanos Bibas, who argued on behalf of the advisors in 2016, is now on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

Feldman’s brief says the advisors are required to work from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at least five days a week, for a weekly minimum of 55 hours.

“The clearest reason why service advisors don’t come within that exemption is they don’t service automobiles,” Feldman says. “You don’t maintain or repair a car, in the way people would ordinarily speak, with a pad or a clipboard and a pencil or a telephone, which are the primary tools that service advisors use.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, suggesting that he’s spent his share of time at the service department, challenges Feldman.

“They do look under the hood sometimes, right?” Roberts says. “You bring the car up, you know, ‘it’s making this noise,’ they go out and at least listen to the noise, and sometimes they can say right away: ‘Oh, that’s probably this.’”

“I don’t think so,” Feldman responds. “They may make a guess as to what’s wrong and … say, well, it might be the distributor cap. But it’s up to the mechanic to actually figure out what’s wrong, not the service advisor.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy asks Feldman about a service advisor who meets a customer in the morning and says, “I’m a service advisor. I’m here to supervise and to plan the servicing of your automobile. Is that correct for him to say?”

Feldman says no. The advisors don’t supervise the mechanics, but serve a “communications function.” No one today openly discusses the advisors’ potential profit-increasing function.

Kennedy suggests that if an advisor is arranging for service, “it seems to me he’s engaged in servicing the automobile.”

Roberts suggests that the service advisor is important to long-term customer relationships.

“It’s sort of common understanding if you, over several years, dropped your car off whenever you’re supposed to or whenever it’s broken, and you talk to Fred about getting it fixed, and — and somebody comes to you later and says something — I’ve got a problem with my car — you would say, ‘my service guy is Fred, go see him.’”

Kagan has a question about a voice that is missing from today’s argument.

“Mr. Feldman, the solicitor general is not here in a case in which one would expect the government to be here. Do you know whether there’s any activity taking place in the Department of Labor with respect to this issue?”

Feldman says he doesn’t. In his rebuttal time, Clement responds by pointing to Footnote 9 of his reply brief, which says that the department’s Wage and Hour Division issued a bulletin in early January announcing it would suspend any enforcement actions against dealerships pending the outcome of this case.

(In a sentence that only the executive branch could write, the bulletin says, “Until further notice, WHD will not assert that service advisors who are employed by a nonmanufacturing establishment primarily engaged in the business of selling automobiles, trucks, or farm implements to ultimate purchasers do not meet the overtime pay exemption under [the statute].”)

The argument will continue with discussion of the many dealership jobs that are covered by overtime — financing salespeople, lube technicians, car jockeys, dispatchers, secretaries.

This case will likely be in the shop for at least two or three months. If you need to check on the progress, just call the court’s service department and ask for Fred.

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from http://www.scotusblog.com

Ex-medical technician pleads guilty to asking boy for nudes

TRENTON, N.J. — A former emergency medical technician in New Jersey has admitted enticing a boy to send him a nude photo online. Federal prosecutors say 23-year-old Zachary Motta of Iselin pleaded guilty on Tuesday to online enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. Authorities say Motta used a computer to ask…

TRENTON, N.J. — A former emergency medical technician in New Jersey has admitted enticing a boy to send him a nude photo online. Federal prosecutors say 23-year-old Zachary Motta of Iselin pleaded guilty on Tuesday to online enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. Authorities say Motta used a computer to ask...

from https://nypost.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Woman pleads guilty to killing teen with belt she wore in selfie

Canadian cops say they nabbed a cold-blooded killer who revealed herself to them when they tracked down a selfie she snapped wearing the belt she used to strangle her friend. Cheyenne Rose Antoine, 21, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday in Saskatoon Provincial Court in connection with the death of Brittney Gargol, 18, who was found dead…

Canadian cops say they nabbed a cold-blooded killer who revealed herself to them when they tracked down a selfie she snapped wearing the belt she used to strangle her friend. Cheyenne Rose Antoine, 21, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday in Saskatoon Provincial Court in connection with the death of Brittney Gargol, 18, who was found dead...

from https://nypost.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Argument transcripts

Argument transcriptsThe transcript in Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro is available on the Supreme Court’s website; the transcript in McCoy v. Louisiana is also available.

The post Argument transcripts appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Argument transcripts

The transcript in Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro is available on the Supreme Court’s website; the transcript in McCoy v. Louisiana is also available.

The post Argument transcripts appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

from http://www.scotusblog.com

Relist Watch

Relist WatchJohn Elwood reviews Tuesday’s relists. True to form for the second conference in January, last week’s 18 new relists yielded 12 new cases and 11 hours of oral argument. (Texas’ two state-on-top appeals concerning its congressional and statehouse voting districts were consolidated.) An already blockbuster term became better still as the court added cases that […]

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Relist Watch

John Elwood reviews Tuesday’s relists.

True to form for the second conference in January, last week’s 18 new relists yielded 12 new cases and 11 hours of oral argument. (Texas’ two state-on-top appeals concerning its congressional and statehouse voting districts were consolidated.) An already blockbuster term became better still as the court added cases that should resolve such important issues as whether Securities and Exchange Commission administrative law judges are “officers of the United States” within the meaning of the appointments clause of the Constitution; whether states can collect sales and use taxes on internet and direct-mail sales from out-of-state buyers; whether a court should defer to a foreign government’s characterization of its own country’s law; and what may be the single most contentious and divisive issue the Supreme Court has faced in a quarter century — whether stock that a railroad transfers to its employees is taxable under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act. Happily, it seems likely that last case will be argued in April, so the legions of citizens who will camp out in line for a week or more to attend argument at least will not be subject to subzero temperatures.

The court is back with more great relists this week – although, because we have passed the court’s traditional cutoff point for granting cases to be argued during the current term, the next grants likely will be argued in October. Indeed, some – and by “some,” I mean “me” – have speculated that the court may have rescheduled these cases precisely so they will be argued next term. Just days before the January 5 conference, the court rescheduled every one of this week’s newly relisted cases so that they’d be considered for the first time at the January 12 conference. That means that they’d be on their first relist at the third January conference – normally the conference at which the court starts filling its October calendar. The fact that all four of this week’s new relists were rescheduled before relisting suggests that the court won’t try to fit these cases on the April calendar, which would require either a short period for filing the reply briefs (two weeks, instead of the usual 30 days), or expedited briefing (which the Roberts court rarely orders). Perhaps the court will use the final April argument spots for as-yet-ungranted cases on a faster track – say, the travel ban or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals cases.

You can see why the court is pushing off this week’s new relists: The cases involve sufficiently momentous issues that if the justices decide to take them, they won’t want to knock the opinions out between the late April sitting and the end of June. Exhibit A is Garco Construction, Inc. v. Secretary of the Army, 17-225, which presents the question whether Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co. and Auer v. Robbins should be overruled. Those cases stand for the proposition that courts must defer to an agency’s interpretation of its own ambiguous regulation unless that interpretation is plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation. Despite the fact that he wrote Auer, Justice Antonin Scalia began calling for the court to reconsider “Auer deference” in October Term 2010. By now, several justices have called for it to be reconsidered, though they have stopped short of driving pencils through its heart. For a host of reasons (chief among them that the rule encourages agencies to write ambiguous regulations), Auer is perhaps the most hated opinion of anti-administrativists everywhere.

Next up is a case that has been the subject of some commentary. For those who are only just now emerging from a long coma, Hargan v. Garza, 17-654, involves an unaccompanied teenager (known as “Jane Doe” to protect her privacy) who was caught trying to enter the United States illegally. When she later discovered she was pregnant, she wanted to have an abortion. Seeking to avoid facilitating abortions, the federal government refused to allow her to leave its custody. The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered the government to permit her to leave. Doe had the abortion on October 25, 2017, instead of October 26, as originally planned. The abortion mooted the legal dispute about whether the government was legally required to release Doe for the abortion before it had sought review of the D.C. Circuit’s decision. The government’s petition seeks Munsingwear vacatur. To most Americans, “Munsingwear vacatur” obviously means getting pantsed while wearing tighty-whities. But it has a very different meaning in the legal context. As the author of the controlling D.C. Circuit decision in this case previously explained on SCOTUSblog, United States v. Munsingwear, Inc. involves “what to do with a court of appeals decision when the case becomes moot while it is pending on review by a higher court. … In Munsingwear, the Supreme Court held that, where intervening mootness prevents appellate review of the underlying decision, the decision below ordinarily should be vacated.” The idea is that the party seeking review shouldn’t be stuck with a decision it was trying to overturn when it lost that opportunity through no fault of its own. In addition to seeking vacatur, the government suggested that the justices “may wish to issue an order to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against” Doe’s attorneys for “what appear to be material misrepresentations and omissions to the government designed to thwart this Court’s review” regarding the date of the abortion. Because we at Relist Watch strive at all times to be anodyne, let me just say that much has been written on this case, and I’m not going improve on that here.

The next case is nowhere as gripping as Munsingwear. Section 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act provides that the FAA does not apply “to contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.” Dominic Oliveira is an independent contractor whose agreement with interstate trucking company New Prime includes a mandatory arbitration provision requiring Oliveira to arbitrate all work disputes with New Prime on an individual basis, and mandates that all disputes regarding arbitrability be decided by an arbitrator. Oliveira filed a putative class action in court and opposed arbitration on the basis of the Section 1 exemption. So that poses the question of who decides whether the FAA applies – a court or an arbitrator? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit held that the applicability of the FAA is a threshold question for a court to determine before compelling arbitration under the act. In New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira, 17-340, New Prime seeks review of that decision, arguing that, under the contract, the arbitrator should decide whether the FAA applies, and that the FAA’s Section 1 exemption is limited to “contracts of employment” and doesn’t apply to independent-contractor agreements.

If you think this post has gone on forever, you haven’t seen anything. CNH Industrial N.V. v. Reese, 17-515, involves a lawsuit filed in 2004. The case concerns whether the healthcare benefits of CNH retirees have vested under the governing collective bargaining agreement. CNH argues that on the case’s *third* trip to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, that court effectively revived a circuit-precedent presumption that benefits have vested that the Supreme Court abrogated in M & G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett. Court-watchers will note that Judge Jeffrey Sutton dissented from the ruling below. Sutton is tied for third place among current court of appeals judges for the most cert grants in cases in which he dissented (five). He is also tied for second place among that group for having decisions from which he dissented overturned by the Supreme Court (also five; he has a perfect record so far).

We’ll be back again next week and then, blessedly, we all get a month off. Until next time!

Thanks to Kent Piacenti for compiling the cases in this post.

 

New Relists

Garco Construction, Inc. v. Secretary of the Army, 17-225

Issue: Whether Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co. and Auer v. Robbins should be overruled.

(relisted after the January 12 conference)

 

New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira, 17-340

Issues: (1) Whether a dispute over applicability of the Federal Arbitration Act’s Section 1 exemption is an arbitrability issue that must be resolved in arbitration pursuant to a valid delegation clause; and (2) whether the FAA’s Section 1 exemption, which applies on its face only to “contracts of employment,” is inapplicable to independent contractor agreements.

(relisted after the January 12 conference)

 

CNH Industrial N.V. v. Reese, 17-515

Issue: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit misinterpreted the Supreme Court’s decision in M & G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, thus creating a conflict with the decisions of other circuits and within the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit itself, by employing rules of contract interpretation explicitly repudiated in Tackett to deem a general duration clause in the collective bargaining agreement ambiguous, and then using extrinsic evidence to hold the healthcare benefits of the retiree class vested for life.

(relisted after the January 12 conference)

 

Hargan v. Garza, 17-654

Issue: Whether, pursuant to United States v. Munsingwear, Inc., the Supreme Court should vacate the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s judgment and instruct that court to remand the case to the district court with directions to dismiss all claims for prospective relief regarding pregnant unaccompanied minors.

(relisted after the January 12 conference)

 

Returning Relists

Sykes v. United States, 16-9604

Issue: Whether Missouri’s second-degree burglary statute is divisible into two offenses with separate elements for the purpose of analyzing whether a conviction under that statute qualifies as a conviction for a “violent felony” as defined in the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii).

(relisted after the October 6, October 13, October 27, November 3, November 9, November 21, December 1, December 8, January 5 and January 12 conferences)

 

Serrano v. United States, 17-5165

Issue: Whether Richardson v. United States precludes a double jeopardy appeal based on evidentiary insufficiency where the jury returns a guilty verdict that is set aside for a new trial.

(relisted after the November 21, December 1, December 8, January 5 and January 12 conferences)

 

Hidalgo v. Arizona, 17-251

Issues: (1) Whether Arizona’s capital sentencing scheme, which includes so many aggravating circumstances that virtually every defendant convicted of first-degree murder is eligible for death, violates the Eighth Amendment; and (2) whether the death penalty in and of itself violates the Eighth Amendment, in light of contemporary standards of decency.

(relisted after the December 1, December 8, January 5 and January 12 conferences)

 

Weyerhaeuser Company v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 17-71

Issues: (1) Whether the Endangered Species Act prohibits designation of private land as unoccupied critical habitat that is neither habitat nor essential to species conservation; and (2) whether an agency decision not to exclude an area from critical habitat because of the economic impact of designation is subject to judicial review.

(relisted after the January 5 and January 12 conferences) 

 

Markle Interests, LLC. v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 17-74

Issues: (1) Whether the Endangered Species Act authorizes the federal government to designate as critical habitat private land that is unsuitable as habitat and has no connection with a protected species; and (2) if the act authorizes such a designation, whether it would be consistent with the United States Constitution.

(relisted after the January 5 and January 12 conferences)

 

Kisela v. Hughes, 17-467

Issues: (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erred in holding that Andrew Kisela, the police officer who found Amy Hughes walking down her driveway toward another woman while carrying a large kitchen knife, acted unreasonably when he shot and wounded Hughes after she ignored commands to drop the knife, given Kisela’s well-founded belief that potentially lethal force was necessary to protect the other woman from an attack that could have serious or deadly consequences; and (2) whether the lower court erred — to the point of warranting summary reversal — in refusing qualified immunity in the absence of any precedent finding a Fourth Amendment violation based on similar facts and, indeed, ignoring a case with remarkably similar facts that found no constitutional violation.

(relisted after the January 5 and January 12 conferences)

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from http://www.scotusblog.com

CA Halts Court Costs, Fees, Fines for Young Offenders

Court officials and legislators wary of forfeiting a key source of revenue have raised roadblocks in states and localities that have tried to do the same. The Trump administration has blunted momentum by scrapping an Obama-era warning against imposing excessive fees and fines on juveniles.

California this month became the first state to eliminate court costs, fees and fines for young offenders, Stateline reports. Court officials and legislators wary of forfeiting a key source of revenue have raised roadblocks in states and localities that have tried to do the same. The Trump administration has blunted momentum by scrapping an Obama-era warning against imposing excessive fees and fines on juveniles. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the move as part of a broader effort to overhaul regulatory procedures at the Department of Justice.

The state of Utah, the city of Philadelphia, and Johnson County, Ks.,are among the handful of jurisdictions that have scaled back juvenile fees and fines in the past year, but none has gone so far as California. “It feels like a steep climb now,” said Joanna Visser Adjoian of the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project, which successfully fought to end Philadelphia’s policy of billing parents for the costs of detaining their children. A 2016 report from the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, found that in almost every state and the District of Columbia, minors who appear in the million-plus cases heard in juvenile court each year may be charged for multiple court-related costs, fines and fees. Courts use the money for witness fees, court operations, public defender fees and probation supervision. They also spend it on health care, GPS monitoring and drug tests, among many other items and services. Research suggests the fees and fines have a disproportionate impact on families of color and may fuel recidivism. A 2017 report by the National Center for State Courts found that most states do not have systems in place to evaluate a family’s ability to pay fees for juvenile probation supervision or to waive those fees when appropriate to do so.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Man fatally stabbed on subway while onlookers post on social media

A man was stabbed to death in a Paris subway, as onlookers posted videos and photos of him on social media — rather than helping, local media reported. Andy Brigitte, 22, was killed by a man who flew into a rage after he was bumped at the Châtelet-Les Halles station Friday night. “No one lifted…

A man was stabbed to death in a Paris subway, as onlookers posted videos and photos of him on social media — rather than helping, local media reported. Andy Brigitte, 22, was killed by a man who flew into a rage after he was bumped at the Châtelet-Les Halles station Friday night. “No one lifted...

from https://nypost.com

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Gun Death Rate Rises in 2016, CDC Says

The private Violence Policy Center says the state with the highest per capita gun death rate in 2016 was Alaska, followed by Alabama. Each of these states has what the center called lax gun violence prevention laws as well as a higher rate of gun ownership. The state with the lowest gun death rate was Massachusetts, followed by New York.

Gun deaths in the U.S. have increased 17 percent since the 2008 decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is a right to keep a handgun in the home for self-defense, according to a new analysis by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) of just-released 2016 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention. Nationwide, the overall gun death rate, including suicides, homicides, and unintentional shootings, increased from 10.21 per 100,000 in 2009 to 11.96 per 100,000 in 2016. The center’s Kristen Rand contends that “gun policy on the federal level and in too many states has gone in the wrong direction. These numbers show that as a nation we are facing an escalating gun crisis.”

The VPC analysis says that, as in earlier years, in 2016 states with higher rates of gun ownership and weak gun violence prevention laws had the highest overall gun death rates. States with the lowest overall gun death rates had lower rates of gun ownership and some of the strongest gun violence prevention laws. The state with the highest per capita gun death rate in 2016 was Alaska, followed by Alabama. Each of these states has what the center called lax gun violence prevention laws as well as a higher rate of gun ownership. The state with the lowest gun death rate was Massachusetts, followed by New York. Both states have strong gun violence prevention laws and a lower rate of gun ownership. The total number of Americans killed by gunfire increased to 38,658 in 2016 from 36,252 in 2015. Separately, burglars stole a record number of firearms from gun stores and other licensed firearms dealers in 2017, extending an upward trend, The Trace reports. Burglars took 7,841 guns from licensed firearms dealers, about 5 percent more than in 2016, says the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

from https://thecrimereport.org