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Supreme Court Recap - 2012 Term

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Normally, I do the case update on Mondays, but with SCOTUS out of session and the Ohio Supreme Court not handing down any decisions, that's a little tough.  Well, that's not quite true; the latter court made two orders with regard to a death penalty case, State v. Slagle, demonstrating the acceleration of the legal process when the defendant's date with the gurney approaches.  Celerity would not seem to be a concern, given that Slagle committed his crime during Reagan's second term.  But no; on Tuesday the court ordered the State to reply no later than Friday at noon to Slagle's motion for stay of execution, and followed that the next day by ordering the State to file a motion a response to Slagle's motion to vacate his sentence, the response due again by Friday noon. So there were some momentous life-and-death decisions to be made.

And then Slagle went and hanged himself in his prison cell over the weekend.  So I guess we'll never know what would have happened.

So I figured I'd use today for my annual recap of the US Supreme Court's past term.  If you need to find it, or my recaps from previous terms, in the future, type "Supreme Court Recap" and the year you're looking for in the search box at the right.  Below is a quick recap of each decision, with links to posts I did discussing oral argument or the decision.  The decisions here only involve those which might apply to state cases; I'll have a post on cases significant for Federal practitioners next week.

Alleyne v. US.  In Apprendi and Blakely, the Supreme Court established that a defendant's 6th Amendment right to jury trial was violated if the defendant's sentence was increased based on findings made by judge instead of a jury.  In Alleyne, the Court extends this to minimum mandatory sentences:  a judicial finding can't increase the defendant's a defendant's minimum mandatory sentence.   (Discussion of decision here.)

Bailey v. USBack in 1981, the Court held in Michigan v. Summers that the police could detain the occupants of a home being searched.  Bailey had left the premises right before the search, and was stopped a mile away.  The majority opinion holds that Summers cannot justify the detention "once an indi­vidual has left the immediate vicinity of a premises to be searched.  (Oral argument here; decision here.) 

Chaidez v. USIn Padilla v. Kentucky, the Court held that a lawyer had rendered ineffective assistance by failing to advise Padilla, a resident alien, that his plea to narcotics trafficking would require his deportation.  Chaidez holds that Padilla will not be applied retroactively for purposes of Federal habeas corpus review.  You may be able to argue that it can be applied retroactively in state court proceedings.  (Decision here.) 

Evans v. Michigan.  A judgment of acquittal by the judge bars retrial, even if the basis of the judge's ruling was erroneous; in Evans' case, the judge had found that the State failed to prove a certain element of the crime, when in fact the element wasn't required at all.  (Brief discussion here.)

Florida v. Harris.  Reliability of drug-sniffing dog to be determined by "totality of circumstances," but it's likely that proof of certification and training will do the trick; you may be entitled to more extensive records, though, including records of the dog's proficiency.  (Oral argument here, decision here.)

Florida v. JardinesAfter a tip that Jardines was growing marijuana in his home, police brought a drug-sniffing dog up on Jardines' porch, and used his alert to get a search warrant.  The Court, by a 5-4 vote, held that a warrant was required.  The opinion focuses heavily not on the physical nature of the intrusion -- the cops can normally come on a person's porch -- but on the "technology" involved in the intrusion.  (Decision here.) 

Maryland v. KingCourt by a 5-4 vote upholds Maryland law which permits state to take DNA sample from anyone arrested for a serious crime.  Scalia's dissenting opinion is a must-read.  Opinion may leave some room to attack Ohio's law on that, since Maryland's was much narrower:  only applied to serious offenses, required probable cause determination, profile was deleted if defendant subsequently acquitted.  (Decision here.)

Missouri v. McNeelyCourt holds that metabolization of alcohol in the blood doesn't create a per se exigency allowing for a warrantless blood draw.  Opinion raises more questions than it answers, especially in regard to "implied consent" laws.  (Decision here; posts on effect on implied consent laws here and here.)

Salinas v. Texas.  Court in a 5-4 decision holds that use of defendant's pre-arrest silence for impeachment is permissible.   Major impact on Ohio law; Ohio Supreme Court had held that use of pre-arrest silence wasn't permissible.  (Discussion of issues here; oral argument here; opinion here.)


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