Did the Supreme Court’s decision in Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86 (2011), silently abrogate the presumption set forth in Ylst v. Nunnemaker, 501 U.S. 797 (1991)—that a federal court sitting in habeas proceedings should “look through” a summary state court ruling to review the last reasoned decision—as a slim majority of the en banc Eleventh Circuit held in this case, despite the agreement of both parties that the Ylst presumption should continue to apply?
Whether a guilty plea inherently waives a defendant’s right to challenge the constitutionality of his statute of conviction?
Whether, when this court held in Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68 (1985), that an indigent defendant is entitled to meaningful expert assistance for the “evaluation, preparation, and presentation of the defense,” it clearly established that the expert should be independent of the prosecution.
Whether a defendant asserting ineffective assistance that results in a structural error must, in addition to demonstrating deficient performance, show that he was prejudiced by counsel’s ineffectiveness, as held by four circuits and five state courts of last resort; or whether prejudice is presumed in such cases, as held by four other circuits and two state high courts.
Whether the rule established in Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S. Ct. 1309 (2012), and Trevino v. Thaler, 133 S. Ct. 1911 (2013), that ineffective state habeas counsel can be seen as cause to overcome the procedural default of a substantial ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim, also applies to procedurally defaulted, but substantial, ineffective assistance of appellate counsel claims.
Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit erred by holding, in direct conflict with the Courts of Appeals for the First, Fourth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits, that a naturalized American citizen can be stripped of her citizenship in a criminal proceeding based on an immaterial false statement.
Lee v. United States, USSC No. 16-327, cert. granted 12/14/16
Question presented (based on the cert. petition):
To establish prejudice under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), a defendant who has pleaded guilty based on deficient advice from his attorney must show “a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial.” Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 59 (1985). Under this standard, is it always irrational for a noncitizen defendant with longtime legal resident status and extended family and business ties to the United States to reject a plea offer despite strong evidence of guilt because the plea would result in mandatory deportation or permanent exclusion?
Turner v. United States, USSC No. 15-1503, and Overton v. United States, USSC No. 15-1504, cert. granted, consolidated for argument and decision, 12/14/16
Question presented (as formulated by SCOTUS)
Whether the petitioners’ convictions must be set aside under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963).