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November 2, 2004

SCOTUS examining broad questions through a sentencing lens

On the Supreme Court's docket today for oral argument were two cases which, though not directly addressing core issues of sentencing law and policy, arrive at the Court in the context of broader sentencing realities.

In Johnson v. California, No. 03-636, the Court considers an equal protection challenge to California's practice of racially segregating prison inmates for the first sixty days of their stay at a new facility. SCOTUS Blog provides a helpful summary of the case and links to the briefs here.

In Florida v. Nixon, No. 03-931, the Court examines the application of ineffective assistance of counsel doctrines in a death penalty case in which defense counsel apparently made a strategic decision to concede guilt in order to ask for a sentence less than death. Again, SCOTUS Blog provides a helpful summary of this case and links to the briefs here.

UPDATE: Thanks to Howard Bashman, here are early news reports on Johnson and Nixon.

November 2, 2004 at 01:55 PM | Permalink

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