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June 12, 2006

A brief account of House and Hill

With so much SCOTUS sentencing news today (basics here), I'm not sure where to start.  I suppose it makes sense to begin with brief accounts of the two death penalty rulings in House and Hill.

House, which I think of as the innocence case, produced a 5-3 ruling in favor of a death row defendant's right to use DNA evidence to try to establish his innocence 20 years after his original conviction.  This brief AP story details the basics of the Court's majority ruling authored by Justice Kennedy.

Update:  The full 37-page opinion in House, and an 18-page dissent by Chief Justice Roberts, can now be accessed at this link.

Hill, which I think of as the execution method case, produced an unanimous ruling in favor of a death row defendant's right to challenge a lethal injection protocol through a 1983 civil rights claim.  This AP story and this SCOTUSblog post details the basics of another ruling authored by Justice Kennedy.

Update:  The 10-page opinion in Hill can now be accessed at this link.

MORE: Orin Kerr has brief comments on these cases in this post, and How Appealing is, of course, providing lots of links to media coverage.

June 12, 2006 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

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