Criminal Law

United States Supreme Court OT 2022 Midterm Update

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Cases decided this term (in alphabetical order)[i]

  • Cruz v. Arizona, No. 21-846
    • Issue: Whether the Arizona Supreme Court’s holding that Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1(g) precluded post-conviction relief is an adequate and independent state-law ground for the judgment.
    • Holding: The Arizona Supreme Court’s holding below — that Lynch v. Arizona did not represent a “significant change in the law” for purposes of permitting John Montenegro Cruz to file a successive petition for state postconviction relief under Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1(g) — is not an adequate state-law ground supporting that judgment.
  • Reed v. Goertz, No. 21-442
    • Issue: Whether the statute of limitations for a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim seeking DNA testing of crime-scene evidence begins to run at the end of state-court litigation denying DNA testing, including any appeals (as the Eleventh Circuit has held), or whether it begins to run at the moment the state trial court denies DNA testing, despite any subsequent appeal (as the Fifth Circuit and Seventh Circuit have held).
    • Holding: When a prisoner pursues state post-conviction DNA testing through the state-provided litigation process, the statute of limitations for a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 procedural due process claim begins to run when the state litigation ends, in this case when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Rodney Reed’s motion for rehearing.

Cases argued this term but not yet decided (in alphabetical order)

  • Ciminelli v. United States, No. 21-1170
    • Issue: Whether the Second Circuit’s “right to control” theory of fraud—which treats the deprivation of complete and accurate information bearing on a person’s economic decision as a species of property fraud—states a valid basis for liability under the federal wire fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1343.Argued: November 28, 2022More info here:
  • Counterman v. Colorado, No. 22-138
    • Issue: Whether, to establish that a statement is a “true threat” unprotected by the First Amendment, the government must show that the speaker subjectively knew or intended the threatening nature of the statement, or whether it is enough to show that an objective “reasonable person” would regard the statement as a threat of violence. Argued: April 19, 2023
  • Jones v. Hendrix, No. 21-857
    • Issue: Whether federal inmates who did not—because established circuit precedent stood firmly against them—challenge their convictions on the ground that the statute of conviction did not criminalize their activity may apply for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C § 2241 after the Supreme Court later makes clear in a retroactively applicable decision that the circuit precedent was wrong and that they are legally innocent of the crime of conviction.
  • Lora v. United States, No. 22-49
    • Issue: Whether 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(D)(ii), which provides that “no term of imprisonment imposed … under this subsection shall run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment,” is triggered when a defendant is convicted and sentenced under 18 U.S.C. § 924(j).
  • Samia v. United States, No. 22-196
    • Issue: 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.
  • Smith v. United States, No. 21-1576
    • Issue: 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.
    • Argued: March 28, 2023
  • United States v. Hansen, No. 22-179
    • Issue: Whether the federal criminal prohibition against encouraging or inducing unlawful immigration for commercial advantage or private financial gain, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) and (B)(i), is facially unconstitutional on First Amendment overbreadth grounds.
    • Argued: March 27, 2023

[i] We have included links to SCOTUSblog in case you want to learn more about these cases.

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