Wednesday, September 24, 2008


And as everyone knows, the First Monday in October signifies that rich American tradition: Start of the Yankees-Red Sox baseball playoffs. Woops. Not this year. It also signifies the start of the new term for the Supreme Court (Motto: "Just callin balls and strikes.Hahahahaha")

Anyway, the wonderfully informative SCOTUS blog has the pending petitions for cert in their "Petitions to Watch"  part of their blog. Here are some, and we are not making any of these up:

"Whether a prison librarian can face personal liability for preventing a prisoner from using a "comb-binding machine" to file a petition for cert at the supreme court." Huh? A petition for cert about a petition for cert? What's a comb-binding machine? 

There's a case named "Kickapoo."  Seriously. What if it becomes settled law? Can you imagine walking down the hallways of federal court. You bump into a friend. 
"Hey where are you going?"
"Aww I have a Kickapoo hearing before Judge Huck at 11." 

Here's one that just seems all wrong:
Lucero v. Texas Issue: Whether, under the Sixth Amendment, a jury foreman may read Bible passages during deliberations to persuade holdout jurors to impose the death penalty.

Wouldn't you assume the bible reader would be arguing for life, not death?  Wait.  It was a Texas juror. Never mind. 

Here's a scary one:
Lee v. Louisiana Issue: Whether the Sixth Amendment, as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, allows criminal convictions based on non-unanimous jury verdicts.

And this one shows how times have changed:
Case name: Lowery, et al. v. Euverard, et al. Issue: Whether, under the First Amendment, a high school football coach may dismiss players for circulating a petition calling for his termination.

Rumpole notes that in our day, doing that would have resulted in you running the stadium steps and then scrubbing the showers. Now everyone has lawyers. 

There are some important pending petitions for Cert that effect all of us, including search and seizure issues, sentencing issues post Booker, and evidentiary issues. The SCOTUS BLOG does a great job and any federal practitioner should scan it once a week or so, especially while court is in session. 


Anonymous said...

Any news on Joe Cool?

Anonymous said...

The U.S. Sentencing Commission recently approved new priorities for its next amendment cycle, which will focus on a study of statutory mandatory minimum penalties, consideration of alternatives to incarceration and a continuation of its work on cocaine sentencing policy, among other issues.