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March 31, 2008

No big opinions, but some notable news from today's SCOTUS order list

As detailed over at SCOTUSblog, the Supreme Court Justices kicked off their two-week spring break with the release of one uneventful opinion.  Still no ruling in the Baze lethal injection case, even though the SCOTUS-produced execution moratorium has now extended over 6 months and has, if some modern deterrence literature is accurate, potentially cost many innocent lives. 

Also, as detailed here at SCOTUSwiki, we are still awaiting rulings in three notable criminal justice cases that were argued way back in 2007: Santos argued October 3; Williams, argued October 30, and the GTMO cases, argued December 5.  I suspect this is a sign that long and/or deeply divided opinions are in the work in all these criminal cases (including Baze).  I believe April 15 is the next likely day for the release of merits opinions (though perhaps we will have to wait until all the Justices get their taxes done we get any more major opinions).

Despite the opinion anti-climax today, there is some significant sentencing news to be found in today's SCOTUS order list

First, some notable oral argument developments. The Court granted argument time motions to the SG in the Irizarry federal sentencing case to be argued April 15, and to Texas et al. in the Kennedy capital child rape case to be argued April 16.  These ruling confirm my sense that these two arguments will both be very interesting and dynamic.

Second, some notable cert developments. The Court denied cert in my Hurn acquitted conduct case and, I believe, in a few other acquitted conduct cases.  I was hoping to get at least a Gall/Kimbrough GVR in these cases, but no such luck.  The Court did not act, however, on the Pittman juve sentencing case out of South Carolina.  Perhaps this shows that a Justice or two thinks the Pittman case (discussed here and here and here) may be worth a closer look.

March 31, 2008 at 10:39 AM | Permalink


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