The United States Supreme Court opens its 2011-2012 term today. Several of the major issues the Court will be addressing are the Obama administration's health care law, immigration, and affirmative action. A Chicago Tribune article from today summarizes all of the major cases on the Court's docket.
The U.S. Courts website has launched a brand new series of podcasts on landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases. According to the press release, new episodes will air each month and contain discussions by law professors about Supreme Court cases "that have shaped American life." The press release also indicates that "Each episode will explain the case’s background, the key arguments, the decision, and why the case has continuing importance today." The first two podcasts currently available cover Mapp v. Ohio (1961) and Texas v. Johnson (1989).
Congratulations go to local Cleveland attorney David Mills, who just scored a huge win in the U.S. Supreme Court (09-737) in the case of Ortiz v. Jordan, which the Court unanimously decided on January 24, 2011. The Supreme Court's decision reversed the 6th Circuit, which had thrown out a trial court's judgment of $625,000 in favor of Michelle Ortiz on her claim that she was sexually assaulted while in prison. Allthough the case went to the Supreme Court on a procedural issue, it is a victory for both Mills and his client. According to news reports, Mills is being asked to speak all over the country, and his solo law practice it sure to be booming very soon. In advance of his oral argument, Mills was profiled in the November issue of the ABA journal.
Click here to read the briefs in the case, and click here to listen to the oral arguments in the case.
Today marks the beginning of the new October term for the United States Supreme Court. Justice Elena Kagan's term begins today, and it will be the first time the Court has empaneled a term with 3 female Justices. Click here for biographies of the current Justices. A good place to find information on the cases the court is currently entertaining is the SCOTUS blog, and CNN recently posted a good summary of some of the big cases the Court is going to review this term.
The U.S. Supreme Court's website has gotten a facelift, along with some new features, including an interactive, color-coded argument calendar on the bottom of the front page and better search capabilities. There is also a new Case Citation Finder and docket files dating back to 2000. According to the Court, the Case Citation Finder: "may be used to retrieve the citation, in the form recommended by the Reporter of Decisions, for every signed, per curiam, or in-chambers opinion published (or soon to be published) in the United States Reports." It allows for Boolean operators (and - or), the use of quotation marks, and sorting by volume number or the name of the petititoner or respondent.
Virtually every legal and non-legal newspaper has picked up the news that Sonia Sotomayor was formally sworn in as the 111th U.S. Supreme Court Justice yesterday. President Obama and several Senators attended the brief swearing in ceremony, which came about a month after the private swearing in August. Sotomayor's busy tenure starts today when she hears oral arguments in a campaign finance case involving Hillary Clinton. Click here to read a brief biography about Justice Sotomayor. Click here to read an article from the Wall Street Journal.
In Herring v. United States, No. 07-513, the United States Supreme Court upheld the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit holding that the exclusionary rule does not bar evidence seized after an arrest based upon a recalled arrest warrant. The warrant had been recalled by the court, but the withdrawal was never entered into the police computer system. By the time the police realized the mistake, the arrest and seizure of drugs and a weapon had already been made. In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that police mistakes leading to an unlawful search, which are the results of isolated negligence rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements, do not require the application of the exclusionary doctrine.
In the criminal case of Denny Ross, the United States Supreme Court recently held that he can be retried for the slaying of Hannah Hill in 1999. The Court's decision held that the legal doctrine of double jeopardy did not bar a second trial even though a mistrial was declared in the 11th hour while the jury was in deliberations but before the jury rendered its verdict in the 2000 trial. The defendant is currently serving a 25-year sentence for attacking an Akron woman in 2004. The case will be retried in Summit County Common Pleas Court. Click here to read a news article from The Beacon Journal on Ohio.com, and click here to read an article from the Plain Dealer online.