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October 5, 2008

Sentencing sleepers at start of sleepy SCOTUS term

As suggested in new SCOTUS preview articles from Adam Liptak in the New York Times and Tony Mauro in Legal Times, there are no obvious blockbuster cases on the Supreme Court's docket as the Justice start their new Term this Monday.  Nevertheless, for sentencing fans, a few sleepers are already on the docket, and some additional sentencing cases seem likely to garner the Court's attention before the Term concludes next year.

The sentencing sleepers that I am watching as the new term begins include: (1) Oregon v. Ice, which deals with Blakely's applicability to consecutive sentencing determinations; (2) Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, which deals with prosecutorial immunity, (3) Chambers v. United States, which deals with the application of the Armed Career Criminal Act, (4) United States v. Hayes, which deal with the reach of the federal prohibition on certain misdemeanants possessing firearms, and (5) Harbison v. Bell, which deals with the federal appointment of counsel for seeking state clemency.  (SCOTUSwiki is a great resource for more background on these cases and other aspects of the new SCOTUS Term.)

Of these five, only Ice and Chambers deal directly with sentencing issues, but the other cases could produce rulings that have significant sentencing echoes.  But all these pending matters are sleepers because I think it is unlikely the Justices will be inclined to issue truly ground-breaking opinions in any of these cases.  Still, one can never be sure about what might come of these cases or others in a Term with a docket already filled with lots of criminal action (as noted in this new article by Marcia Coyle at The National Law Journal).

Some related SCOTUS docket posts:

UPDATE:  How Appealing has collected lots of SCOTUS pre-game press coverage over here.

October 5, 2008 at 05:13 PM | Permalink


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Just wanted to say this is a very interesting blog even for UK based people like myself. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Mark keenan | Oct 6, 2008 6:49:47 AM

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