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November 14, 2005

Criminal justice work in today's SCOTUS action

Prisoners are receiving significant cert attention from the Supreme Court this morning.  Details come from Lyle Denniston in this post at SCOTUSblog:

The Court agreed to hear two cases on issues involving prison life.  It agreed to clarify what steps prison inmates must take before they may file a federal court lawsuit challenging prison conditions. The issue involves the scope of the duty under the Prison Litigation Reform Act to use administrative remedies before suing (Woodford v. Ngo, 05-416).  The Circuit Courts are in disagreement about the issue.  And the Court granted review of whether prison officials have a duty to allow dangerous inmates access to newspapers, magazines and photos (Beard v. Banks, 04-1739).

Also of note, as Lyle further details, "the Court declined to rule on the validity of state laws that ban all convicted felons from voting, even after they have served their sentences.  This marked the third time in the past year that the Court has passed up the issue of felons' voting rights, under the Voting Rights Act or the Fourteenth Amendment. The denied case was Johnson v. Bush (05-212)."

For hard-core sentencing fans, today's order list includes two Booker GVRs (will they ever end?!?), as well as a whole bunch of cert denieds.  Interestingly, missing again from cert denieds is the Gomez case from Tennessee (background in this post), which adds further intrigue to the question of whether, when and how the Supreme Court may take up one of the state supreme court rulings that have avoided the application of Blakely.

UPDATE:  Howard Bashman at How Appealing does his usual terrific job of collecting the early press coverage on these developments here.

November 14, 2005 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

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