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September 28, 2010

Lots of crime (and some punishment) in big pile of cert grants from SCOTUS long conference

As detailed in this post at SCOTUSblog, the Supreme Court this morning granted certiorari in fourteen new cases. The full orders list is here, and I think more than a third of the cases involve criminal justice issues:

  • Kentucky v. King, concerning exigent circumstances (opinion below)

  • US v. Tinklenberg, concerning speedy trial rights (opinion below)

  • Bullcoming v. New Mexico, concerning Confrontation Clause rights (opinion below)

  • Freeman v. US, concerning crack sentence reduction authority (opinion below)

  • Sykes v. US, concerning application of Armed Career Criminal Act (opinion below)

Freedman and Sykes are the cases that should most interest sentencing fans. Neither is a blockbuster-in-waiting, but both should provide some of the new (and old) Justices to showcase their current thinking on various federal sentencing issues.

September 28, 2010 at 03:26 PM | Permalink


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While I'm glad cert was granted on the Sykes issue (there's a circuit split), one can't help but feel that these ACCA cases are getting a little tiring. I hope the Petitioner or amici argue that the residual/otherwise clause is unconstitutionally vague. After James, Begay, and Chambers there is no clear answer on what crimes come within the ambit of the clause. And a workable solution does not appear on the horizon.

Posted by: DEJ | Sep 28, 2010 4:26:40 PM

From the description I think
Bullcoming v. New Mexico
is fairly important. It is, after all, the person who actually did the work whose actions are critical to proving the validity of the presented material. Melendez-Diaz left plenty of wiggle room for states (such as allowing the requirement that the defendant inform the state that the tech must testify), but I don't see having someone else testify as meeting the standard.

How is a defendant to even /possibly/ impeach someone's work if that person isn't available to grill?

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Sep 28, 2010 5:13:01 PM

i don't know. i think most of you missed this real killer. Defense Attorneys are gonna have a field day with it!

from the "Kentucky v. King, concerning exigent circumstances"


"B. The "Good Faith" Exception Does Not Apply to a Warrantless Entry
Finally, the Commonwealth argues, consistent with the Court of Appeals'
opinion, that although Officer Cobb was mistaken about the suspected drug
dealer being in the left apartment, the "good faith" exception prevents the
warrantless entry from being invalidated due to his mistake. This argument is
without merit.
We assume the Court of Appeals was referring to the good faith exception
to the exclusionary rule established by United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897
(1984). However, the Leon good faith exception is "clearly limited to warrants
invalidated for lack of probable cause" and does not create a broad good faith
exception for any illegal search."

Considering how many non-warrent searchs occur now this is a ball buster!

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