Month: October 2015

A Couple Of Sentencing Arguments

Last week seems like a long time ago. I’ve been busy with some personal business – all good – and never got around to posting the sketches from last weeks arguments in Montgomery v. Louisiana and Hurst v. Florida.

The first argument concerned inmates who as juveniles were automatically sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. The Court three years ago, in Miller v. Alabamaruled that although juveniles could receive a life sentence it couldn’t be automatic. The issue here is whether that applies retroactively.

The second argument looked at the role of juries in determining sentence in Florida death penalty cases.

 

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An Extortion Conspiracy From Baltimore’s Finest

A couple sketches from Tuesday’s Supreme Court argument in Ocasio v. U.S.. The case case involves members of the Baltimore police who received kickbacks for steering business to Majestic Auto Repair. Arriving on the scene of an auto accident the officer would encourage the driver of a damaged vehicle to have it towed to Majestic. In exchange officers would receive a $150. referral fee, later upped to $300.

One of the officers, Samuel Ocasio, who was convicted of conspiracy under the Hobbs Act for obtaining of property “from another, with his consent, . . . under color of official right”, appealed, arguing that the statute requires that the alleged conspirators agree among themselves to obtain property “from another”—that is, from someone outside the conspiracy. Since the bribe came from Majestic, and they were part of the conspiracy, there was no conspiracy, so the argument goes.

Not sure the Justices bought it

 

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First Monday In October

The Supreme Court began its new term on a beautiful fall morning much appreciated after several grey days of wind and rain.

The argument heard was a case in which a woman, Carol Sachs, who while traveling on a Eurail Pass had suffered a horrible injury while boarding a train in Austria, is seeking to sue the European railway in U.S. courts. Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act such a lawsuit is barred except  in commercial dealings. Because she bought her ticket in the United States, Sachs argues that her case falls under that exception.

SCOTUSblog’s analysis of the argument is here

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