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Cruel/unusual punishment

Randall Mathena, Warden v. Lee Boyd Malvo, USSC No. 18-217, certiorari granted 3/18/19 Question presented: Montgomery v. Alabama, 136 S. Ct. 718 (2016)), held that the new constitutional rule announced in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. Did the the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals err in… Read More

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Kahler v. Kansas, USSC No. 18-6135, certiorari granted 3/18/10 Question presented: Do the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments permit a state to abolish the insanity defense? Decision below; USSC docket; Scotusblog page As Scotusblog explains, Kahler was convicted of killing his, wife, kids, and his wife’s grandmother, and he was sentenced to death. His lawyers argued… Read More

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Timbs v. Indiana, USSC No. 17-1091, February 20, 2019, reversing State v. Timbs, 84 N.E.3d 1179 (Ind. 2017); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary) “The question presented: Is the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause an ‘incorporated’ protection applicable to the States under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause?” The answer: Yes. Like the Eighth… Read More

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State v. Jevon Dion Jackson, 2017AP712, District 1, 8/28/18 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Citing the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions holding that the Eighth Amendment limits the imposition of life sentences on juveniles, Jackson argues he is entitled to a new sentencing hearing or sentence modification. The court of appeals concludes… Read More

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State v. Curtis L. Walker & State v. Omer Ninham, 2016AP1058 & 2016AP2098, Districts I & III, 3/6/18; case activity (including briefs): Walker; Ninham Issue: We certify these appeals to determine whether Wisconsin case law regarding life sentences without parole for juvenile murderers comports with recent pronouncements from the United States Supreme Court, and whether the sentencing courts… Read More

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Happily Wisconsin does not have the death penalty, so SCOTUS’s decision to grant cert in Madison v. Alabama, USSC No. 17-7505, is not directly relevant to our clients. But the issues for review, pasted in below are certainly interesting. Madison’s counsel of record is Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative. (1) Whether, consistent with… Read More

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State v. Nathan J. Paape, 2015AP2462-CR, District 2, 6/28/17 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Paape and a co-defendant, Antonio Barbeau, were convicted as adults for a first degree intentional homicide they committed when they were 13 years old. Both received the mandatory life sentence and both were granted eligibility under § 973.014(1g)(a)2. to… Read More

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Virginia v. Dennis LeBlanc, USSC No. 16-1177, 2017 WL 2507375 (June 12, 2017), reversing LeBlanc v. Mathena, 841 F.3d 256 (4th Cir. 2016); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary) Although this is a per curiam decision and it’s decided under the rubric of federal habeas review, the upshot of this opinion is that states… Read More

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