Petitions to watch | Conference of June 7

Petitions to watch | Conference of June 7In its conference of June 7, 2018, the court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether the district court had jurisdiction to consider challenges to the new districting plan the North Carolina General Assembly enacted after North Carolina’s previous state districting plan was invalidated as a racial gerrymander; whether the lower court improperly departed from […]

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Petitions to watch | Conference of June 7

In its conference of June 7, 2018, the court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether the district court had jurisdiction to consider challenges to the new districting plan the North Carolina General Assembly enacted after North Carolina’s previous state districting plan was invalidated as a racial gerrymander; whether the lower court improperly departed from the Supreme Court’s decisions in Graham v. Connor and Plumhoff v. Rickard when it denied qualified immunity based on the absence of a constitutional violation given that the undisputed facts established that the petitioner acted reasonably in responding to the threat of a suspect turning towards him while raising the barrel of what appeared to be an assault rifle; and whether standards of decency have evolved to render the execution of a defendant prosecuted as a principal to first degree murder unconstitutional when, as the state conceded, jurors could not know who inflicted the blows that caused the victim’s death.

Armstead v. United States
17-7941

Issue: Whether a defendant who enters into a Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement is generally eligible for a sentence reduction if there is a later, retroactive amendment to the relevant sentencing guidelines range.

17-6856

Issue: Whether the “separate sovereign” concept actually exists when Congress’s plenary power over Indian tribes and the general erosion of any real tribal sovereignty is amplified by the Northern Cheyenne Tribe’s constitution in such a way that the petitioner’s prosecutions in both tribal and federal court violate the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.

16-9541

Issues: (1) Whether the Louisiana Supreme Court erred in upholding the petitioner’s death sentence when the jury made only one of the two statutory required jury findings beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) whether standards of decency have evolved to render the execution of a defendant prosecuted as a principal to first degree murder unconstitutional when, as the state conceded, jurors could not know who inflicted the blows that caused the victim’s death; (3) whether testimony establishing communications between a deputy monitoring the trial and an alternate juror in front of other jurors about the trial constitutes sufficient evidence to be presumptively prejudicial; and (4) whether the Louisiana Supreme Court’s rule, which requires an indigent defendant to accept his trial counsel’s decision to concede his guilt of second degree murder over his express objections or represent himself, vitiates the voluntariness of the petitioner’s waiver of counsel.

Eaton v. United States
17-6680

Issue: [The petitioner is a pro se prisoner and the government waived its right to respond, so we have been unable to obtain a copy of the petition.]

17-7245

Issue: Whether the death penalty, in and of itself, violates the Eighth Amendment in light of contemporary standards of decency and the geographic arbitrariness of its imposition.

17-646

Issue: Whether the Supreme Court should overrule the “separate sovereigns” exception to the double jeopardy clause.

17-1354

Issues: (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit improperly departed from the Supreme Court’s decision in White v. Pauly and numerous other cases when it denied qualified immunity notwithstanding the absence of clearly established law imposing liability under circumstances closely analogous to those confronting the petitioner in this case; and (2) whether the lower court improperly departed from the Supreme Court’s decisions in Graham v. Connor and Plumhoff v. Rickard when it denied qualified immunity based on the absence of a constitutional violation given that the undisputed facts established that the the petitioner acted reasonably in responding to the threat of a suspect turning towards him while raising the barrel of what appeared to be an assault rifle.

17-7177

Issue: Whether, when a criminal defendant has already been convicted of an offense in a state criminal proceeding, the United States may thereafter prosecute the defendant for the same offense without violating the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on double jeopardy.

17-7153

Issues: (1) Whether incarcerating a prisoner awaiting execution for over four decades, even after the state found a life-without-parole sentence to be appropriate, violates the Eighth Amendment because it fails to serve any legitimate penological purpose; and (2) whether incarcerating a prisoner awaiting execution for over four decades, with over half that time attributable to repeated constitutional violations in a succession of sentencing hearings, violates the Eighth Amendment because it fails to serve any legitimate penological purpose.

17-1364

Issues: (1) Whether the district court had jurisdiction to consider challenges to the new districting plan the North Carolina General Assembly enacted after North Carolina’s previous state districting plan was invalidated as a racial gerrymander; (2) whether the district court erred by finding that four districts were racially gerrymandered even though the legislature did not consider race; (3) whether the district court erred by considering and substantiating a state-law challenge to five districts in which no plaintiff resides; (4) whether the district court erred by refusing to allow the legislature to enact its own remedial plan; and (5) whether the district court erred by imposing a map that improperly considered race.

17-5503

Issues: (1) Whether the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment prohibits the federal government from charging, convicting and sentencing a person who has already been charged, convicted and sentenced in the court of a state for much of the same conduct; and (2) whether the seriousness of the offense conduct is an appropriate consideration for a district court when fashioning a sentence on revocation of supervised release.

17-742

Issue: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit’s holding—granting qualified immunity to law-enforcement officers who stopped the petitioner from praying silently in her own home because there was no prior case law involving similar facts—conflicts with Hope v. Pelzer, which “expressly rejected a requirement that previous cases be ‘fundamentally similar’” or involve “‘materially similar’ facts.”

17-5410

Issue: Whether the Supreme Court should overrule the “separate sovereigns” exception to the double jeopardy clause.

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