In its Conference of May 19, 2016, the Court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether, for federal habeas purposes, California’s procedural rule generally barring review of claims that were available but not raised on direct appeal is an “adequate” state-law ground for rejection of a claim; whether execution of a condemned individual more than three-and-one-half decades after the imposition of a death sentence violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment; and whether a defendant’s Due Process right to a fair trial is secure when a prosecutor with a history of misconduct commits misconduct on several occasions through the defendant’s trial.

15-789

Issue(s): (1) Whether, for federal habeas purposes, California’s procedural rule generally barring review of claims that were available but not raised on direct appeal is an “adequate” state-law ground for rejection of a claim; and (2) whether, when a federal habeas petitioner argues that a state procedural default is not an “adequate” state-law ground for rejection of a claim, the burden of persuasion as to adequacy rests on the habeas petitioner (as in the Fifth Circuit) or on the state (as in the Ninth and Tenth Circuits).

15-797

Issue(s): Whether it violates the Eighth Amendment and this Court’s decisions in Hall v. Florida and Atkins v. Virginia to prohibit the use of current medical standards on intellectual disability, and require the use of outdated medical standards, in determining whether an individual may be executed.

15-862

Issue(s): Whether a law prohibiting religiously motivated conduct violates the Free Exercise Clause when it exempts the same conduct when done for a host of secular reasons, has been enforced only against religious conduct, and has a history showing an intent to target religion.

15-1193
Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case.

Issue(s): (1) Whether a court must categorically deny a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) motion premised on the change in decisional law produced by Martinez v. Ryan; and (2) whether the Sixth Circuit's decision to deny even a certificate of appealability in this case should be summarily reversed.

15-8366

Issue(s): (1) What is the proper appellate procedure to address a trial court's failure to conduct the third Batson v. Kentucky step; (2) whether the Arizona Supreme Court, where it has continuously refused Simmons v. South Carolina instructions by relying upon the availability of commutation, has decided this question in a manner that conflicts with Simmons; and (3) whether a defendant's Due Process right to a fair trial is secure when a prosecutor with a history of misconduct commits misconduct on several occasions through the defendant's trial.

 

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Kate Howard, Petitions to watch | Conference of May 19, SCOTUSblog (May. 18, 2016, 8:19 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/05/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-may-19/