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October 8, 2012

Lots of notable SCOTUS action for criminal justice fans despite short week

Returning to action after the holiday weekend, the Supreme Court has criminal justice issues within three of its four cases scheduled for oral argument over the next two days (and the fourth is the high-profile affirmative-action case out of Texas).  With links and descriptions from the always terrific SCOTUSblog, here is the criminal justice argument line-up:

Tuesday, October 9:

  • Ryan v. Gonzales: Does 18 U.S.C. § 3599(a)(2), which provides that an indigent capital state inmate pursuing federal habeas relief "shall be entitled to the appointment of one or more attorneys," entitle a death row inmate to stay the federal habeas proceedings he initiated if he is not competent to assist counsel?
  • Tibbals v. Carter1) Whether capital prisoners possess a “right to competence” in federal habeas proceedings under Rees v. Peyton; and 2) whether a federal district court can order an indefinite stay of a federal habeas proceeding under Rees.

Wednesday, October 10

  • Moncrieffe v. Holder: Whether a conviction under a provision of state law that encompasses but is not limited to the distribution of a small amount of marijuana without remuneration constitutes an aggravated felony, notwithstanding that the record of conviction does not establish that the alien was convicted of conduct that would constitute a federal felony.

October 8, 2012 at 07:29 PM | Permalink


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Question: Is the competency standard advanced by the Ninth and Sixth Circuits in any way different, functionally, from the Ford v. Wainwright standard?

If not, I don't see what the States are complaining about. They can't execute anyway so long as the prisoners are incompetent. Yes, there will be delay, but the cost should be minor: housing an incompetent inmate is relatively nominal compared with litigation expenses, which of course should not accrue since the proceedings are stayed.

Posted by: SashokJD | Oct 9, 2012 12:15:51 AM

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