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Recent SCOTUS Cases

The Federal Docket

Ramos v. Louisiana (U.S. Supreme Court, April 2020)

In a patchwork opinion involving a lengthy discussion of stare decisis, a majority of the Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to a unanimous verdict in a criminal prosecution applies to the states through the Fourteenth amendment.

Kelly v. United States (U.S. Supreme Court, May 2020)

In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court reversed the convictions of the Port Authority officials involved in the infamous “Bridgegate scandal,” holding that their convictions for wire fraud on a federally funded program, predicated on their blocking off certain lanes as political retribution against an opposition mayor, were not supported by sufficient evidence because they did not involve a scheme “to obtain money or property.”

United States v. Davis (U.S. Supreme Court, June 2019)

The Supreme Court struck down the residual clause of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), which criminalizes carrying a firearm in connection with a “crime of violence” or drug trafficking crime, as unconstitutionally vague. The decision was based on prior Supreme Court decisions striking down similar provisions defining “crimes of violence” under 18 U.S.C. § 16 and the ACCA.

Rehaif v. United States (U.S. Supreme Court, June 2019)

The Supreme Court held that 18 U.S.C. § 922, which criminalizes possession of a firearm by certain groups of individuals (such as felons), has an intent element requiring that the defendant had knowledge of both his possession of a firearm and of his status in a class of individuals prohibited from possessing firearms.

Flowers v. Mississippi (U.S. Supreme Court, June 2019)

Curtis Flowers was tried six separate times for the same murder by the same prosecutor. Several of his convictions were vacated by the Mississippi Supreme Court based on findings that the State engaged in prosecutorial misconduct and used it peremptory strikes on the basis of race in violation of Batson v. Kentucky. After his sixth trial, in which the State struck five black jurors and allowed one black juror to be seated, Flowers was convicted.

Gamble v. United States (U.S. Supreme Court, June 2019)

The Court affirmed the defendant’s federal conviction for the same crime he had been convicted under Alabama state law, reaffirming the dual sovereignty exception to the Double Jeopardy clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Mitchell v. Wisconsin (U.S. Supreme Court, June 2019)

The Court affirmed the defendant’s conviction for a DUI after police took his blood while he was passed out, with a plurality of the  Court holding that conducting a blood test on a defendant while he is passed out is permissible under the “exigent circumstance” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.

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