SUPREME COURT REJECTS SECOND CIRCUIT’S EX POST FACTO RULE

Glen Marcus was convicted of engaging in unlawful forced labor and sex trafficking between January 1999 and October 2001. The problem is the statute making forced labor and sex trafficking illegal was not enacted until 2000. Therefore much of the evidence at trial concerned acts that were legal at the time they were committed. Of course someone cannot be convicted for committing a legal act. The Constitution and basic rules of fairness prohibit ex post facto laws which penalize events […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT CLARIFIES 18 USC 924(C)

Martin O’Brien and Arthur Burgess attempted an armed robbery of an armored vehicle. They were arrested and charged in a multi-count indictment with possession of a gun during a violent crime In Count III which carries a minimum sentence of five years and in Count IV with possession of a machine gun during a crime of violence which carries a minimum sentence of 30 years. Both are violations of 18 USC Section 924(c). The government was not sure it could […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT GRANTS WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS FINDING THAT CIRCUIT COURT FAILED TO CONSIDER DUE PROCESS ISSUE

The Supreme Court, yesterday, reversed the denial of a writ of habeas corpus by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on the grounds that the Circuit Court failed to consider all possible exceptions to the rule that an appellate court accepts the facts as found by the trial court. In this case, which predated the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, the appellate court adopted the factual findings of the lower court. While generally appellate courts must accept […] Read more »

SECURE COMMUNITIES–DOES IT MAKE US LESS SECURE

Secure Communities is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program to deport felons who have either been convicted of serious felonies in the past or are currently accused of committing such. It operates through the use of biometric evidence, primarily booking fingerprints, which are immediately transmitted to the Integrated Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division and the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) of the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT Program. Within hours […] Read more »

MORE ON RACIAL PROFILING IN NEW YORK

Following up on the recent release of statistics showing that the number of African Americans and Latinos stopped and searched by New York City police vastly exceeds their percentage of the population, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the city claiming that under state law the names and other identifying information regarding those searched but for whom charges are later dismissed must be purged from the records. In the first three months of this year 9% of […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT DENIES TENTH AMENDMENT CHALLENGE

Congress passed a bill authorizing the Federal government to petition the courts to institutionalize an offender beyond the time of his/her maximum sentence if that person either committed or attempted to commit an act of sexual violence or child molestation and the offender is a danger to society. Four Florida inmates challenged their commitments under 18 U. S. C. §4248 in United States v, Comstock on the basis that the Constitution does not grant the Federal government authority to institutionalize […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT BANS LWOP SENTENCES FOR JUVENILES CONVICTED OF CRIMES OTHER THAN HOMICIDE

The Supreme Court, yesterday, banned the use of life without parole (LWOP) sentences for juveniles convicted of crimes other than homicide. In Graham v. Florida it reversed the life without parole sentence of a Florida teenager who violated his probation for a home invasion robbery by committing an armed robbery. The Court found that sentencing a juvenile to life in prison without parole for a crime other than homicide violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban of cruel and unusual punishment. The […] Read more »

EFFORTS TO EXPAND PUBLIC SAFETY EXCEPTION TO MIRANDA WILL RUN INTO CONSTITUTIONAL OBJECTIONS

There has been considerable talk lately about Congress attempting to widen the public safety exception to the Miranda Rule. Attorney General Eric Holder supported such a move in a interview on Meet the Press last week. The public safety exception was first enunciated by the Supreme Court in New York v. Quarles. In Quarles a woman approached a police officer and told him that she had been raped at gunpoint. Furthermore, she told him that the rapist was in a […] Read more »

RACIAL PROFILING CONTINUES

The New York Times has released some startling new statistics. African Americans and Latinos were nine times more likely to be stopped and frisked in New York City than Caucasians in 2009. Police stopped 209,000 Black and Latinos in 2009 while they only stopped 53,000 Caucasians. In Ohio v. Terry the Supreme Court found it permissible to stop an individual if a police office has a reasonable suspicion that the person was involved in a crime. Furthermore the Supreme Court […] Read more »

APOLOGIES

Sorry, I’ve had problems with the internet the past few days. I hope they’re over and the posts will be as normal. Thanks for your patience. Read more »