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January 18, 2013

Lots of technical criminal justice stuff in (final?) four SCOTUS cert grants

The Supreme Court handed down an orders list this afternoon which granted cert in four new cases, many of which have criminal justice elements.  Lyle Denniston has this lengthy new post about the grants, and here are some highlights:

After weeks of pondering what to do about a case with an unusual combination of criminal law and U.S. treaty obligations, the Supreme Court on Friday agreed to accept it for review — for a second time.   The case involves the appeal of a Pennsylvania woman prosecuted for trying to poison her husband’s lover.   She was prosecuted under a federal law that implemented a global chemical weapons treaty.  The case is Bond v. United States (12-158).  Friday’s grants came as the last round of selection of cases that have a chance of being heard in the current Term, ending in late June.   If any of the cases are going to be heard this Term, that would be in April.

The Court also said it would rule on the legal fallout from a major investment “Ponzi scheme,” on a case on the proof needed to show illegal retaliation under federal workplace discrimination law, and on a test of the power of state courts to abolish a defense that an individual accused of crime had previously had available.

In the “Ponzi scheme” case, the Court accepted for review questions raised in three separate petitions, all focusing on whether the Court will block securities fraud class-action lawsuits based on state law, when the fraud had misled investors about the alleged backing of the investment by quality securities traded on major exchanges. The cases involve civil lawsuits arising in the wake of the activities of Texas and Antigua financier Allen Stanford.... The cases, taken to the Court by two law firms and by insurance companies, will be heard together in one hour of oral argument. (Allen Stanford has been convicted of concocting and carrying out the scheme, and is serving a 110-year prison sentence.)...

The fourth new case is Metrish v. Lancaster (12-547), involving the constitutionality of Michigan’s retroactive withdrawal of a criminal suspect’s right to claim that the crime was the result of diminished mental capacity.   That defense was made famous by the so-called “Twinkie” claim — an insistence by an accused individual that his crime was the result of a form of depression that showed up in an inability to resist eating junk food.  “Twinkie defense,” now the popular label for a “diminished capacity” defense, originated in the trial of a San Francisco official who entered city hall and murdered the mayor and another city official.

In the new Michigan case, a mentally disturbed former Detroit police officer sought to use that defense when he was prosecuted for killing his girlfriend for lying to him.   When he committed the crime, in 1993, that defense was available to him.  By the time he went to trial (his second trial) on the murder charge, the state had withdrawn that defense.  The Sixth Circuit Court ruled that the cancellation violated his due process rights.   (The individual in the case is named Burt Lancaster, but is no relation to the Hollywood actor.)

January 18, 2013 at 05:47 PM | Permalink

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Comments

i think in this case!

"In the new Michigan case, a mentally disturbed former Detroit police officer sought to use that defense when he was prosecuted for killing his girlfriend for lying to him. When he committed the crime, in 1993, that defense was available to him. By the time he went to trial (his second trial) on the murder charge, the state had withdrawn that defense. The Sixth Circuit Court ruled that the cancellation violated his due process rights. (The individual in the case is named Burt Lancaster, but is no relation to the Hollywood actor.)"

The state is shit out of luck. They are not allowed to change the rules in mid trial. Plus again we have multiple trials for same charge!

What is with all these illegal retrials.

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 18, 2013 11:55:47 PM

The Sixth Circuit blows off AEDPA again. Surprise surprise.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 19, 2013 1:41:27 PM

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