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Test to Determine Whether the Due Process Clause Requires a State or Local Government to Provide a Post Seizure Probable Cause Hearing Before Forfeiture Proceeding

In determining whether the Due Process Clause requires a state or local government to provide a post seizure probable cause hearing prior to a statutory judicial forfeiture proceeding and, if so, when such a hearing must take place, should district courts apply the “speedy trial” test employed in United States v. $8,850, 461 U.S. 555 (1983) and Barker v. Wingo,…

Case: Culley v. Attorney General of Alabama (11th Cir. July 11, 2022, No. 21-13805), cert. granted 4/17/2023
Case Number: 22-585
Updated: April 17, 2023
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PC § 1170(b)(3) and Sixth Amendment Right to a Jury Trial–Circumstances in Aggravation Based on Certified Records of Prior Convictions, Beyond Bare Fact of Convictions

Did the sentencing court’s consideration of circumstances in aggravation based on certified records of prior convictions, beyond the bare fact of the convictions, violate Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (b)(3) or defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial?

Case: People v. Wiley (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 676, review granted 3/12/2024
Case Number: S283326/A165613
Updated: March 12, 2024
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Whether Prosecution Expert is Permitted to Convey Testimonial Statements of Nontestifying Forensic Analyst Under Certain Conditions

Whether the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment permits the prosecution in a criminal trial to present testimony by a substitute expert conveying the testimonial statements of a nontestifying forensic analyst, on the grounds that (a) the testifying expert offers some independent opinion and the analyst’s statements are offered not for their truth but to explain the expert’s opinion, and…

Case: State v. Smith (Ariz.Ct.App. July 14, 2022, No. 1 CA-CR 21-0451) [nonpub. opn.], cert. granted 9/29/2023
Case Number: 22-899
Updated: September 29, 2023
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State Habeas Case–Due Process Violations Based on the Suppression of Evidence / Whether There is an Adequate and Independent State-Law Ground for the Judgment

1. a. Whether the State’s suppression of the key prosecution witness’s admission he was under the care of a psychiatrist and failure to correct that witness’s false testimony about that care and related diagnosis violate the due process of law. See Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963); Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264 (1959). b. Whether the entirety of…

Case: Glossip v. State (Okla.Crim.App 2023) 529 P.3d 218, cert. granted 1/22/2024
Case Number: 22-7466
Updated: January 22, 2024
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Does Enforcement of Generally Applicable Laws Regulating Camping on Public Property Constitute Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

In Martin v. City of Boise, 920 F.3d 584 (9th Cir. 2019), the Ninth Circuit held that the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause prevents cities from enforcing criminal restrictions on public camping unless the person has “access to adequate temporary shelter.” Id. at 617 & n.8. In this case, the Ninth Circuit extended Martin to a classwide injunction prohibiting the…

Case: Johnson v. City of Grants Pass (9th Cir. 2023) 72 F.4th 868, cert. granted 1/12/2024
Case Number: 23-175
Updated: January 12, 2024
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Fourth Amendment Malicious Prosecution Claim: Charge-Specific Rule v. “Any-Crime” Rule

To make out a Fourth Amendment malicious prosecution claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must show that legal process was instituted without probable cause. Thompson v. Clark, 142 S. Ct. 1332, 1338 (2022). Under the charge-specific rule, a malicious prosecution claim can proceed as to a baseless criminal charge, even if other charges brought alongside the baseless charge…

Case: Chiaverini v. City of Napoleon (6th Cir. Jan. 11, 2023, No. 21-3996 [nonpub. opn.]), cert. granted 12/13/2023
Case Number: 23-50
Updated: December 13, 2023
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Whether Jury Must Find Defendant’s Prior Convictions Were “Committed on Occasions Different from One Another”

Whether the Constitution requires a jury trial and proof beyond a reasonable doubt to find that a defendant’s prior convictions were “committed on occasions different from one another,” as is necessary to impose an enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1).

Case: United States v. Erlinger (7th Cir. 2023) 77 F.4th 617, cert. granted 11/20/2023
Case Number: 23-370
Updated: November 20, 2023
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Second Amendment Right for Ordinary Law-Abiding Citizens to Carry Handguns Outside the Home for Self-Defense

New York prohibits its ordinary law-abiding citizens from carrying a handgun outside the home without a license, and it denies licenses to every citizen who fails to convince the state that he or she has “proper cause” to carry a firearm. In District of Columbia v. Heller, this Court held that the Second Amendment protects “the individual right to possess…

Case: N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen (2022) __ U.S. __ [142 S.Ct. 2111]
Case Number: 20-843
Updated: June 23, 2022
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Is Unsuccessful Attempt to Detain Suspect by Use of Physical Force a “Seizure”

Police officers shot Petitioner, but she drove away and temporarily eluded capture. In this excessive force suit, the district court granted summary judgment for the officers on the ground that no Fourth Amendment “seizure” occurred. The Tenth Circuit affirmed, reasoning that an officer’s application of physical force is not a seizure if the person upon whom the force is applied…

Case: Torres v. Madrid (2021) __ U.S. __ [141 S.Ct. 989].
Case Number: 19-292
Updated: March 25, 2021
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Admission of Evidence and the Confrontation Clause

Whether, or under what circumstances, a criminal defendant who opens the door to responsive evidence also forfeits his right to exclude evidence otherwise barred by the Confrontation Clause.  In 2006, a stray 9-millimeter bullet killed a 2-year-old child in the Bronx. The State charged Nicholas Morris with the murder, but after trial commenced, it offered him a plea deal for…

Case: Hemphill v. New York (2022) __ U.S.__ [142 S.Ct. 681]
Case Number: 20-637
Updated: January 20, 2022
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Whether Prohibiting Possession of Firearms by Persons Subject to Domestic-Violence Restraining Order Violates Second Amendment

Whether 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8), which prohibits the possession of firearms by persons subject to domestic-violence restraining orders, violates the Second Amendment on its face.

Case: U.S. v. Rahimi (5th Cir. 2023) 61 F.4th 44, cert. granted 6/30/2023
Case Number: 22-915
Updated: June 30, 2023
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Proper Remedy for Government’s Failure to Prove Venue

Whether the proper remedy for the government’s failure to prove venue is an acquittal barring re-prosecution of the offense, as the Fifth and Eighth Circuits have held, or whether instead the government may re-try the defendant for the same offense in a different venue, as the Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits have held. The U.S. Constitution permits retrial when…

Case: Smith v. United States (2023) __ U.S. __ [143 S.Ct. 1594]
Case Number: 21–1576
Updated: June 15, 2023
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Whether the Trial Court’s Failure to Appoint Substitute Counsel Deprived Defendant of the Effective Assistance of Counsel

Did the trial court deprive defendant of effective assistance of counsel by failing to appoint substitute counsel to evaluate and potentially argue defendant’s pro. per. motion to dismiss after appointed counsel refused to consider the motion based on an asserted conflict in arguing her own ineffective assistance of counsel?  

Case: People v. Carter (2022) 86 Cal.App.5th 739, review granted 3/1/2023
Case Number: S278262/C094949
Updated: March 1, 2023
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Level of Scrutiny for Determination of SVPA Equal Protection Violation

What level of scrutiny applies in determining whether the Sexually Violent Predator Act (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600 et seq.) violates equal protection because it does not require an advisement or personal waiver of a jury trial as afforded in other civil commitment statutes?

Case: People v. Cannon (2002) 85 Cal.App.5th  786, review granted 2/15/2023
Case Number: S277995/A163083
Updated: February 15, 2023
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Confrontation Clause–Admitting Codefendant’s Redacted Confession that Inculpates a Defendant

Whether admitting a codefendant's redacted out-of-court confession that immediately inculpates a defendant based on the surrounding context violates the defendant's rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. Held: Prosecutors have long tried criminal defendants jointly in cases where the defendants are alleged to have engaged in a common criminal scheme. However, when prosecutors seek to introduce a nontestifying…

Case: Samia v. United States (2023) __ U.S. __
Case Number: 22-196
Updated: June 23, 2023
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Equal Protection Clause Challenge to Penal Code Section 3051

Does Penal Code section 3051, subdivision (h), violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by excluding young adults sentenced to life without the possibility of parole from youth offender parole consideration, while young adults sentenced to parole-eligible terms are entitled to such consideration? On 10/4/2023, the California Supreme Court ordered supplemental briefing on the following issue: Whether the…

Case: People v. Hardin (2024) 15 Cal.5th 834
Case Number: S277487
Updated: March 4, 2024
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Excessive Fines Clause Applicable to States

Whether the Eighth Amendment's Excessive Fines Clause is incorporated against the States under the Fourteenth Amendment. Held: The Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause is an "incorporated" protection applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause. Timbs pleaded guilty in Indiana state court to drug charges. Indiana sought civil forfeiture of his vehicle, valued at $42,000, which was over…

Case: Timbs v. Indiana (2019) __ U.S. __ [139 S.Ct. 682]
Case Number: 17-1091
Updated: February 20, 2019
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Whether Eighth Amendment Requires Finding that a Juvenile is Permanently Incorrigible Before Imposing an LWOP Sentence

Whether the Eighth Amendment requires the sentencing authority to make a finding that a juvenile is permanently incorrigible before imposing a sentence of life without parole. Held: "Under Miller v. Alabama, 567 U. S. 460, 132 S. Ct. 2455, 183 L. Ed. 2d 407 (2012), an individual who commits a homicide when he or she is under 18 may be sentenced to life…

Case: Jones v. Mississippi (2021) __ U.S.__ [141 S.Ct. 1307]
Case Number: 18-1259
Updated: April 22, 2021
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