In its Conference of May 26, 2016, the Court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether and under what standard a corporation or other organization may be deemed to have “knowingly” presented a false claim, or used or made a false record, in violation of Section 3729(a) of the False Claims Act; whether Louisiana’s failure to require the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that death is the appropriate punishment violates the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments; and whether an individual who regains his federal civil rights by operation of federal law has had his civil rights “restored” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20) and therefore may exercise his rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

15-513
Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondents in this case.

Issue(s): What standard governs the decision whether to dismiss a relator's claim for violation of the False Claims Act's seal requirement.

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Atkins v. Virginia to prohibit the use of current medical standards on intellectual disability, and require the use of outdated medical standards, in determining whether an individual may be executed.

15-827

Issue(s): What is the level of educational benefit that school districts must confer on children with disabilities to provide them with the free appropriate public education guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. CVSG: 08/18/2016.

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.

15-946

Issue(s): (1) Whether imposition of the death penalty upon a person convicted of murder constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments; and (2) whether Louisiana's failure to require the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that death is the appropriate punishment violates the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

15-1027

Issue(s): Whether one who regains his or her federal civil rights by operation of federal law has had his civil rights “restored” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20), which bars anyone who has been convicted of a felony from possessing a firearm, but further provides that “[a]ny conviction . . . for which a person . . . has had civil rights restored shall not be considered a conviction,” and therefore may exercise the fundamental constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

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.

15-7939

Issue(s): (1) Whether, under Miranda v. Arizona and Edwards v. Arizona, law enforcement officers are permitted to interrogate a defendant after he invokes his right to counsel, is placed in a jail cell that does not have adequate water and light, is held there without counsel for four days and then contacts officers to discuss the conditions of his confinement; and (2) whether this Court's decision in Hurst v. Florida invalidates a death sentence that is based on a judge's independent findings that aggravating circumstances existed and that they outweighed mitigating circumstances, rather than a jury verdict.

15-8049

Issue(s): Whether the Fifth Circuit imposed an improper and unduly burdensome Certificate of Appealability (COA) standard that contravenes this Court's precedent and deepens two circuit splits when it denied petitioner a COA on his motion to reopen the judgment and obtain merits review of his claim that his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for knowingly presenting an “expert” who testified that petitioner was more likely to be dangerous in the future because he is Black, where future dangerousness was both a prerequisite for a death sentence and the central issue at sentencing.

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 26, SCOTUSblog (May. 24, 2016, 8:04 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/05/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-may-26/