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October 2, 2014

SCOTUS grants cert on lots of new cases, with only two on criminal procedure and one on prisoner suits

The Supreme Court this morning released this list of order, which includes orders granting certiorari review in ten new cases. A quick scan of the list does not reveal any notable sentencing cases and only two criminal law cases: Ohio v. Clark, which seems to involve a Confrontation Clause issue; Rodriguez V. US, which seems to involve a Fourth Amendment traffic stop matter.  In addition, Coleman v. Tollefson was granted concerning a prisoner's ability to bring a civil suit against correction officials.

I am quite bummed that this order list suggests the Justices are not interested in any sentencing issues raised in the long conference. It is possible that SCOTUS may "relist" rather than outright deny some sentencing petitions I have been following concerning issued like acquitted conduct guideline enhancement and/or Miller retroactivity. But after a period of years in the aftermath of Blakely and Booker, when we could expect a number of major sentencing rulings almost every Term, it lately seems like the Justices are actively trying to avoid taking up any major sentencing cases. Oh well.

October 2, 2014 at 09:58 AM | Permalink


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From my perspective, Ohio v. Clark and Rodriguez v. US are both exciting and interesting cases (Clark interests me academically since it's finally a case that discusses "testamonial," Rodriguez terrifies me since I think there's a clearly right answer but am not sure the Court will agree).

I think Miller retroactivity is unlikely to appear. But I agree about Acquitted Conduct. When it comes to sentencing, that's a big evolving issue involving areas of the Constitution many Justices take interest in that is tough to answer. I'd like to see them take that on.

Posted by: Erik M | Oct 2, 2014 8:41:47 PM

Not sure Ohio v. Clark will provide much clarity on testimonial.

Mandatory reporters (teachers, doctors) are people that children and adults would not normally view as "law enforcement" or part of the criminal investigation process. I can easily see another Williams-type split decision in which Thomas focuses on the lack of formality and the plurality focuses on the child's perspective (which may not even understand that telling a law enforcement officer might result in criminal charge. My hunch is that the bottom line will be that the Supreme Court will keep a (quasi-) law enforcement/law enforcement divide on the issue of testimonial statements and find that mandatory reporter laws do not transform teachers and doctors into police investigators.

Posted by: tmm | Oct 3, 2014 11:09:20 AM

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