Pending United States Supreme Court Cert. Grants (SPD-Related)

OT 11

On June 28, 2011, the USSC granted certiorari in the following cases:

Title: Sandy Williams v. Illinois
Docket: 10-8505
Issues: Whether a state rule of evidence allowing an expert witness to testify about the results of DNA testing performed by non-testifying analysts, where the defendant has no opportunity to confront the actual analysts, violates the Confrontation Clause.

See post for further discussion.

On June 27, 2011, the USSC granted certiorari in the following cases:

Title: U.S. v. Antoine Jones
Docket: 10-1259
Issues: 1. Whether the warrantless use of a tracking device on petitioner’s vehicle to monitor its movements on public streets violated the Fourth Amendment. 2. Whether the government violated respondent’s Fourth Amendment rights by installing the GPS tracking device on his vehicle without a valid warrant and without his consent.

See post for further discussion.

Title: Messerschmidt v. Millender
Docket: 10-704
Issues: This Court has held that police officers who procure and execute warrants later determined invalid are entitled to qualified immunity, and evidence obtained should not be suppressed, so long as the warrant is not “so lacking in indicia of probable cause as to render official belief in its existence entirely unreasonable.” United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 920, 923 (1984); Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 341, 344-45 (1986). The Questions Presented are: 1. Under these standards, are officers entitled to qualified immunity where they obtained a facially valid warrant to search for firearms, firearm-related materials, and gang-related items in the residence of a gang member and felon who had threatened to kill his girlfriend and fired a sawed-off shotgun at her, and a district attorney approved the application, no factually on point case law prohibited the search, and the alleged overbreadth in the warrant did not expand the scope of the search? 2. Should the Malley/Leon standards be reconsidered or clarified in light of lower courts’ inability to apply them in accordance with their purpose of deterring police misconduct, resulting in imposition of liability on officers for good faith conduct and improper exclusion of evidence in criminal cases?

See post for further discussion.

On June 13, 2011, the USSC granted certiorari in the following cases:

Title: Juan Smith Louisiana
Docket: 10-8145
Issues: In this Louisiana criminal case, the state trial court, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, and the Louisiana Supreme Court, without making any factual findings, or providing any reasons for their rulings, denied Petitioner Juan Smith post-conviction relief. Smith contends that the Louisiana state courts reached this result only by disregarding firmly-¬established precedents of this Court regarding suppression of material evidence favorable to a defendant and presentation of false or misleading evidence by a prosecutor. I. Is there a reasonable probability that, given the cumulative effect of the Brady and Napue/Giglio violations in Smith’s case, the outcome of the trial would have been different? II. Did the Louisiana state courts ignore fundamental principles of due process in rejecting Smith’s Brady and Napue/Giglio claims? Petitioner Juan Smith respectfully requests that this Court issue a writ of certiorari to review the decision of the Louisiana Supreme Court.

  • Decision below (LA SCt)

See post for further discussion.

On June 6, 2011, the USSC granted certiorari in the following cases:

Title: Rafael Arriaza Gonzalez v. Thaler
Docket: 10-895
Issues: 1. WAS THERE JURISDICTION TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY UNDER 28 U.S.C. §2253(C) AND TO ADJUDICATE PETITIONER’S APPEAL? 2. WAS THE APPLICATION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS OUT OF TIME UNDER 28 U.S.C. §2244(D)(1) DUE TO “THE DATE ON WHICH THE JUDGMENT BECAME FINAL BY THE CONCLUSION OF DIRECT REVIEW OR THE EXPIRATION OF THE TIME FOR SEEKING SUCH REVIEW”?

See post for further discussion.

On June 6, 2011, the USSC granted certiorari in the following cases:

Title: Luis Mariano Martinez v. Ryan
Docket: 10-1001
Issue: Whether a defendant in a state criminal case who is prohibited by state law from raising on direct appeal any claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, but who has a state-law right to raise such a claim in a first postconviction proceeding, has a federal constitutional right to effective assistance of first post-conviction counsel specifically with respect to his ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claim.

See post for further discussion.

On April 19, 2011, the USSC granted certiorari in the following cases:

Title: Barion Perry v. New Hampshire
Docket: 10-8974
Issue: When a witness in a criminal case identifies a suspect out-of-court, under suggestive circumstances which give rise to a substantial likelihood of later misidentification, due process requires the trial judge to determine whether the out-ofcourt identification and any subsequent in-court identification are reliable before either may be admitted into evidence. Question: Do the due process protections against unreliable identification evidence apply to all identifications made under suggestive circumstances, as held by the First Circuit Court of Appeal and other federal courts of appeal, or only when the suggestive circumstances were orchestrated by the police, as held by the New Hampshire Supreme Court and other courts?

See post for further discussion.

On April 19, 2011, the USSC granted certiorari in the following cases:

Title: Judulang v. Holder
Docket: 10-694
Issue: Whether a lawful permanent resident who was convicted by guilty plea of an offense that renders him deportable and excludable under differently phrased statutory subsections, but who did not depart and reenter the United States between his conviction and the commencement of removal proceedings, is categorically foreclosed from seeking discretionary relief from removal under former Section 212(c) of the INA.

See post for further discussion.

On April 4, 2011, the USSC granted certiorari in the following cases:

Title: Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington
Docket: 10-945
Issue: Whether the Fourth Amendment permits a jail to conduct a suspicionless strip search of every individual arrested for any minor offense no matter what the circumstances.

See post for further discussion.

On April 4, 2011, the USSC granted certiorari in the following cases:

Title: Greene v. Fischer
Docket: 10-637
Issue: For purposes of adjudicating a state prisoner’s petition for federal habeas relief, what is the temporal cutoff for whether a decision from this Court qualifies as “clearly established Federal law” under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996?

See post for further discussion.

On March 21, 2011, the USSC granted certiorari in the following cases:

Title: Maples v. Thomas
Docket: 10-63
Issue: In this capital case, the divided Eleventh Circuit held that Alabama may execute a state inmate without any federal court review of the merits of serious constitutional claims because of a missed filing deadline that indisputably occurred through no fault of petitioner and after the State failed to take any action when court orders mailed to petitioner’s lead attorneys of record were returned to a court clerk unopened with “Return to Sender – Left Firm” written on an envelope. The question presented is as follows: Whether the Eleventh Circuit properly held – in conflict with the decisions of this Court and other courts – that there was no “cause” to excuse any procedural default where petitioner was blameless for the default, the State’s own conduct contributed to the default, and petitioner’s attorneys of record were no longer functioning as his agents at the time of any default.

See post for further discussion.

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