Keeping up with rulings from the United States Supreme Court is just as important to us as blogging about relevant practitioner issues. Please use this page as a way to stay updated on the changes in the Criminal Law area as we work to research, analyze, predict, and summarize the decisions of the Supreme Court.
Argued November 2, 2015
Facts: In 1986, the Supreme Court held in Batson v. Kentucky that during jury selection prosecutors are prohibited from using their preemptory strike on potential jurors because of race. On November 2, 2015, in the case of Foster v. Chatman, the Supreme Court was asked to revisit this ruling to provide further guidance for lower courts when faced with potential issues of racially driven preemptory strikes. The case stemmed from Georgia where Foster, a black 18-year-old, was charged with murdering a white woman and sentenced to death. On appeal, Foster’s defense team was able to get a hold of the prosecution’s notes and found that the prosecutors had highlighted and ranked every black juror in order of preference using the symbol “B” and had written contradictory reasons for striking each potential black juror. After the petitioner was denied habeas corpus relief from the Superior Court of Butts County, Georgia, the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari.
Written By: Emily Wolfford, Senior Editor
Argued October 13, 2015
Facts: In November 1963, 17-year-old Henry Montgomery was arrested and convicted of murdering Sheriff Deputy Charles Hurt. Montgomery was originally sentenced to death, a decision that the Louisiana Supreme Court ultimately overturned. Instead, Montgomery was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP), a sentence that was automatically determined after he was found guilty. However, this contradicts the Miller Court’s holding stating, “mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crime violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on ‘cruel and unusual punishment.’” Montgomery proceeded to file a pro se motion in the East Baton Rouge Parish District Court to correct his sentence. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Written By: Julia Eaton, Junior Staffer