« Notably different new capital statements from state governors | Main | A favorite footnote of the day »

May 11, 2009

Lots of criminal cases on the SCOTUSblog watch list

I see from this new post at SCOTUSblog that the folks over there have about a half-dozen criminal law cases among the group on their list of “Petitions to Watch” that are up for consideration at the Justices’ private conference on May 14.  I suspect that only a few of the cases listed there will produce a cert grant, and I am rooting hard for the Supreme Court to take up Dunphy, a case noted here concerning the application of the crack retroactivity rules.

I would be interested to hear if others have favorite criminal issues from the SCOTUSblog watch list or elsewhere lurking in the cert pool.  On this front, consider this lengthy post from Crime & Consequences, titled "A Ninth Circuit Stinker Goes to SCOTUS."

I think the Justices still have to grant a good number of new cases in order to have a full Fall of arguments, so I hope everyone will gear up their case pitches before we reach the usual summer slow-down.

May 11, 2009 at 04:23 PM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Lots of criminal cases on the SCOTUSblog watch list:


Read the government's two-page Memorandum in Opposition to the Dunphy petition. I think the chances SCOTUS grants cert. are extremely slim.

Posted by: Law Clerk | May 11, 2009 5:59:58 PM

It would be a good exercise. Take 10 cases. Ask which decision would increase lawyer jobs. If you get get 7 of 10 decisions right, that is very meaningful even at the gut level and an excellent rate of prediction from theory for a social science.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 11, 2009 9:14:46 PM

I would like to see a reversal in Buckley v. Rackard.

Posted by: Daniel | May 12, 2009 12:07:25 AM

Sometimes an appellate court should "cut to the chase scene". At footnote 2 the Court alludes to Art. I, Section 6 and quotes only the final sentence regarding this "privilege" :"(F)or any speech or debate.."

The entire relevant portion of this Section has to be read. "They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their atendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place."

It seems that Jefferson is being charged with felonies. Aha the felony exception! Further, that the felonies are based on statements by the defendant outside of the floor of the House and therefore NOT for "any speech or debate in either House". Had the court of appeals focused on the provisions of Art. I, Section 6, the case could have been summarized and disposed of in a concise and terse manner. What is presented is a lot of double dribbling on the court, by the court. This case does not merit the Supreme Court's attention and did not merit the 24 or so pages it took for the Fourth Circuit to explain its obtuse decision.

How about? "Per curium. The Court affirms the well reasoned judgment of the district court. Art I. Section 6 states the contours of the "privilege" rather concisely. The commitment of a felony is an exception to Art. I, Section 6. Further, the constituent acts alleged in furtherance of the commission of these felonies, were committed outside of the House of Representatives and in no way in furtherance of the deliberative process. All of such conduct falls squarely outside the "privilege" which the defendant asserts."

Posted by: mpb | May 12, 2009 10:08:33 AM

Buckley v. Rackard, 11th Circuit.
Handcuffed, subdued, misdemeanor arrestee, is repeatedly assaulted with an electric Taser device by a commissioned police officer. The 11th Circuit says this is not excessive and that the cop was not on notice that it was unconstitutional.

I did not now that John Yoo worked for the 11th Circuit.

Posted by: mpb | May 12, 2009 10:14:22 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB