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May 18, 2009

Interesting group of cert grants from SCOTUS

As noted in this post last week, the SCOTUSblog folks had about a half-dozen criminal law cases on their list of “Petitions to Watch.”  Though I have not yet figured out the fate of all of these watched cases, the list of four granted cases today have lots of interesting dimensions.  The basics are detailed here at SCOTUSblog:

The Court has granted certiorari in four cases today: Free Enterprise Fund and Beckstead and Watts, LLP v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, et al. (08-861) Black, et al.  v. United States (08-876);  Wood v. Allen (08-9156) [limited to questions 1 and 2]; and Beard v. Kindler (08-992).

I welcome comments on whether any of these cases should be of extra interest to sentencing fans.

UPDATE:  This SCOTUSblog post provides these additional details on the three criminal case grants:

The Court granted three [criminal] cases, including a review of the fraud conviction of a former media mogul, Canadian Conrad M. Black, in a celebrated case involving allegedly illegal executive compensation. The case is Black v. U.S. (08-876).

Also granted was Beard v . Kindler (08-992), on the proper treatment in a federal habeas corpus proceeding of state procedural rules that are discretionary rather than mandatory. Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., took no part in that order. The Court also agreed to hear a death penalty case, Wood v. Allen (08-9156), with the grant limited to the first two questions. The Wood case tests the failure of an inexperienced defense lawyer to present in a capital sentencing proceeding evidence of the defendant’s severe mental impairment.

Kent at C&C has this long post providing lots of helpful context for the Beard v . Kindler grant.

May 18, 2009 at 11:12 AM | Permalink


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Of interest to me was the cert denial in Dunphy.

Posted by: DEJ | May 18, 2009 11:26:21 AM

Trivial, but for No. 08-992

Nov 26 2008 Application (08A467) granted by Justice Souter extending the time to file until January 31, 2009.
Feb 2 2009 Petition for a writ of certiorari filed. (Response due March 6, 2009)

Is SCOTUS that lenient (since they did rule against a defendant whose lawyer relied on a wrong date set by the judge), or Feb 2 the date processed, not received?

Posted by: . | May 18, 2009 11:56:00 AM

Wood and Kindler have sentencing questions underlying the actual questions presented, which is probably sufficient to be of interest to "sentencing fans" though perhaps not "extra interest."

The extension in Kindler is not unusual.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | May 18, 2009 12:18:53 PM

Kent,the extension granted by Judge Souter is not unusual, but what about the court's accepting a cert petition filed two days after the date established by that extension?

Posted by: anon | May 18, 2009 12:51:53 PM

January 31st was a Saturday, so the first court business day was February 2nd. As such, the petition was timely filed.

Posted by: anonymous | May 18, 2009 1:34:15 PM

The Court denied cert. in a Michigan case, People v. Lockman, Mich. Ct. App. # 273330 (Jan. 15, 2008), leave to appeal denied, 482 Mich. 1029 (2008), which each rejected claims that Blakely applies to the Michigan mandatory sentencing guidelines. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time the issue has been presented to the United States Supreme Court. Justice O'Connor had opined in Blakely that it did apply to the Michigan sentencing guidelines. The appellate litigation on this issue will now move to the federal courts on habeas challenges.

Posted by: Greg Jones | May 18, 2009 2:40:34 PM

Kind of odd that the extension date was a Saturday, but S.C. Rule 30.1 says Monday is timely in that circumstance. If they mailed it, then the filing date is the postmark date. See Rule 29.2.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | May 18, 2009 3:36:09 PM

A scientific theory should predict the future, once circumstances are kept steady.

Exercise: For each of those cases, which decision would generate more lawyer controversy? More controversy would generate more lawyer jobs, hence the rent seeking aims of the CCE are furthered.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 18, 2009 5:01:28 PM

I'll take you up on that S.C. I predict that Beard v. Kindler will produce a rule less confusing and less litigation-generating than the status quo.

That's actually a pretty safe bet on my part, because it would be nearly impossible for them to make it any worse.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | May 18, 2009 5:33:35 PM

I had trouble following the controversy. I predict the Court will rule in favor of Beard, the prosecution, and remand for another hearing on the death penalty. You do not give up your right to a hearing after escaping twice. During the remand, the death penalty will be upheld. Kindler is a poster boy for the death penalty, but endless hearings are a higher value to the Court.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 18, 2009 6:18:32 PM

Kent: Please choose, appellant or appellee.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 18, 2009 9:43:29 PM

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