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Supreme Court Recap - 2007 Term

One of my goals in starting this blog was to create a resource for solo practitioners and small firm lawyers who don't have the resources the big guys have for research.  In that light, today's post is a rundown of the major US Supreme Court cases this year involving criminal law.  If I did a extended post summarizing them, there's a link to that.  There's also a link to the decision, and links to any previous posts I've done about them.  In the future, if you want to get to this page, just stick "supreme court recap" in the search box on your right.

District of Columbia v. Heller:  Court holds that 2nd Amendment creates private, individual right to own firearms, strikes down DC's virtual ban on gun ownership.  Summary here; other posts here and here.

Boumediene v. Bush:  Congress could not strip Guantanamo detainees of their right to habeas corpus.  Very brief summary here, but post also includes links to more extended discussion.

Baze v. ReesCourt upholds constitutionality of "three-drug cocktail" for lethal injection.

Begay v. US:  Prior conviction for felony DWI was not a violent crime for purposes of the 15-year enhancement under the Armed Career Criminal Act.

Burgess v. US:  A drug conviction involving a sentence of more than one year is a felony, for purposes of the Controlled Substances Act, which doubles the mandatory minimum for a drug conviction, regardless of whether the conviction is classified as a misdemeanor under state law.

Giles v. California:  Defendant doesn't forfeit his right to confrontation under Crawford by preventing witness from testifying unless his actions were done with the intent of preventing the witness from appearing at trial.  Summary here; other post here.

Kennedy v. Louisiana:  Strikes down Louisiana's death penalty for child rapists.  Majority opinion clearly states that, outside of espionage and treason, death penalty is inappropriate for any offense that does not involve the intentional attempt to kill another person.  Summary here; other post here.

Indiana v. Edwards:  Competence to stand trial does not necessarily entitle defendant to represent himself; competence to stand trial and competence to serve as one's own attorney are separate questions.  Brief summary here.

Danforth v. Minnesota:  Courts are free to determine their own rules of retroactivity regarding US Supreme Court decisions, regardless of how the Court itself determines the retroactivity question.  Brief summary here.

Snyder v. Louisiana:  Court reverses a death sentence, holding that judge did not exercise sufficient control over prosecutor's exercise of peremptories on black jurors; case mainly stands for proposition that less deference is due by appellate courts to trial judge's examination of Batson challenges.  Summary here; other post here.

Medellin v. TexasPresident cannot order states to reconsider criminal convictions for failure to advise defendants who are foreign nationals of their rights to consular access.  Summary here.

Gall v. US:  A sentence outside the Federal Sentencing Guidelines is not presumptively unreasonable; and Kimbrough v. USA sentence outside the Guidelines is not presumptively unreasonable simply because it is based on a disagreement with the sentencing disparity between crack and cocaine powder.  Together, the decisions restore wide discretion for district judges in sentencing decisions.  Gall summarized here; Kimbrough summarized here.

Virginia v. Moore:  Fourth Amendment requires only that police have probable cause to believe crime has been committed in order to arrest; whether arrest is permissible under state law does not affect question of legality of arrest, or admissibility of evidence obtained incident to arrest, under the Federal constitution.  Summary here; other post here.

Like everybody else, I'm taking the 4th off.  See you on Monday.


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