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June 14, 2010

Lots of SCOTUS action for sentencing fans this morning

In addition to the Dolan ruling noted here, the Supreme Court handed down two more opinions this morning that should be of interest to sentencing fans.  Here are the SCOTUSblog early accounts:

09-5327, Holland v. Florida, Breyer writes again for the Court, reversing and remanding on a 7-2 vote Alito concurs in part and in the judgment. Scalia dissents, joined in part by Thomas The Court permits equitable tolling of the habeas corpus filing deadline under the AEDPA

09-60, Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, Stevens writes for the Court, reversing. The result is unanimous, but Scalia and Thomas each file an opinion concurring in the judgment only. The Court rules that second or subsequent crimes of possession of drugs are not aggravated felonies under federal immigration law when the underlying state conviction is not based on the fact that there was a prior conviction.

The full opinion in Holland is available here, and the full opinion in Carachuri-Rosendo is available here.  I will be reviewing these opinions to see if there are any big stories lurking in these potential sleeper cases.

In addition, the Supreme Court this morning granted cert in Collin v. Pinholster, which I believe is a capital habeas case coming from the Ninth Circuit.   Indeed, I now see that this new AP article reports that the Ninth Circuit "threw out Pinholster's death sentence because his lawyer did not give a jury evidence of mental illness during the penalty phase of his murder trial. The San Francisco-based court said that evidence might have persuaded the jury to reject the death sentence."

UPDATE:  This new SCOTUSblog post provides an effective summary of all the action from the Supreme Court today.

June 14, 2010 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

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aka Pinholster v Ayers

http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2009/12/huge-en-banc-ruling-from-ninth-circuit-reversing-death-sentence-for-ineffective-assistance.html

Posted by: . | Jun 14, 2010 11:02:31 AM

Judge Kozinski got part of his wish today. Hopefully, this will get reversed and some clarification to the 9th, if they really care to hear it. Does Kozinski really think that his colleagues are honestly following Supreme court direction? Let us see if the 3 dissenters opinion can carry the day at SCOTUS. Usually, 9th en banc capital cases are a lot tighter on the vote.

Posted by: DaveP | Jun 14, 2010 2:49:18 PM

it's not glamorous, doug, but carachuri will have a big impact on sentences in illegal reentry cases. under guideline 2l1.2(b)(1)(C), a lot of those defendants were getting 8-level enhancements, now they will get only 4 levels.

Posted by: big bad wolf | Jun 14, 2010 3:17:25 PM

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