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September 12, 2007

A big SCOTUS sentencing Term in the works?

The SCOTUS preview season is getting started, and the big Booker reasonableness cases — Gall (index here) and Kimbrough (index here) — to be heard at the start of the Term surely deserve early attention.  And hard-core sentencing fans can also look forward to October SCOTUS oral arguments in Watson (QP here) and Logan (basics here), which will examine some technical federal sentencing issues, and in Medellin (QP here) and Danforth (basics here), which will examine interesting criminal justice questions that can impact sentencing outcomes.

Further, a number of other interesting non-capital sentencing issues are floating in the cert pool.  For starters, I still have my fingers crossed for the petition I helped put together in Faulks regarding the constitutionality of certain supervised release revocation procedures.  And, as detailed here, another notable Apprendi-Blakely issue from Washington is before the Court noting splits over the "prior conviction exception."   And, as reported here by SCOTUSblog, the Court also got a recent petition seeking resolution of a circuit split on "the question whether a court of appeals may order an increase in a criminal defendant's sentence sua sponte, absent an appeal or cross-appeal by the Government."

Of course, no Supreme Court Term would be complete without some notable death penalty cases.  As indicated here, the constitutionality of the death penalty for child rape may be ripe for SCOTUS review.  Also, as Crime & Consequences notes here, some of the state lethal injection litigation has made its way back to the Court in new cert petition.  And I am sure there are some other capital cases helping to keep the cert pool full of life-and-death issues.

In addition, I know there are a lot of other cert-worthy issues in or around the cert pool, with topics ranging from acquitted conduct enhancements to Blakely/Booker retroactivity to bible-impacted capital jury deliberations to due process requirements at sentencing.  (Readers are encouraged to flag other petitions and issues worth watching.) 

Though I am sure that SCOTUS won't address all these matters over the next 9 months, I am already reserving time in my July 2008 calender for putting together a long supplement to my co-authored casebook Sentencing Law and Policy.  Moreover, the chaotic world of sentencing jurisprudence highlights that the Supreme Court's could stop the shrinking of its docket by deciding to decided just some of the many important (and often long-festering) sentencing questions they've not resolved in prior terms.

September 12, 2007 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Got any links to the LI cert petitions?

Posted by: anonymouse | Sep 12, 2007 2:35:51 PM

Got any links to the LI cert petitions?

Posted by: anonymouse | Sep 12, 2007 2:36:03 PM

I would like to thank you for your blog. I have a friend in the us prison system desperately trying to understand how he got there and how to get out. I am trying to do research but find law tiresome to read (although it really makes me mad also) I do not have much spare time to do this for him and your blog really helps me give him
points to research himself.(no internet)
I am not in the law profession in anyway.

Posted by: megg cook | Sep 23, 2007 4:57:57 PM

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