Issue: (1) Texas has enacted a statute, Texas Penal Code § 21.02, which
criminalizes continuous sexual abuse of a child or children under age
14. A jury is permitted to convict someone without unanimously
agreeing exactly which two acts occurred. All the jury has to
unanimously decide is that any two acts (24 total acts if there are 12
jurors) occurred over a period lasting 30 days or more. Does this
statute violate the federal constitutional requirements of a unanimous
jury verdict in criminal prosecutions or due process of law? Or is the
statute constitutional because, as the Texas appellate courts have held,
the “two or more acts” element is only the “manner and means” of
committing this offense, and therefore the jury does not need to
unanimously agree which two acts occurred in order to convict;
(2) Texas Government Code § 508.145(a) prohibits someone convicted of
continuous sexual abuse of a child or children under age 14 from
being parole eligible. However, someone convicted of a multiple,
specific acts of abuse against a child or children under age 14 remains
parole eligible. Does this legislative classification violate the federal
constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws, especially
when, as here, a defendant is convicted of both continuous sexual
abuse, which is not parole eligible, and specific acts of abuse, which
are parole eligible.
3/31Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, Inc. Whether the Court should overrule Brulotte v. Thys Co., which held that “a patentee’s use of a royalty agreement that projects beyond the expiration date of the patent is unlawful per se”.
On Monday afternoon Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer testified before the House Appropriations Committee. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the Court’s budget for the next fiscal year and the federal judiciary, but the legislators also took full advantage of the occasion to touch on other topics as well.
Awarded the Peabody Award for excellence in electronic media.
Sigma Delta Chi
Awarded the Sigma Delta Chi deadline reporting award for online coverage of the Affordable Care Act decision.
National Press Club Award
Awarded the National Press Club's Breaking News Award for coverage of the Affordable Care Act decision.
Silver Gavel Award
Awarded the Silver Gavel Award by the American Bar Association for fostering the American public’s understanding of the law and the legal system.
American Gavel Award
Awarded the American Gavel Award for Distinguished Reporting About the Judiciary to recognize the highest standards of reporting about courts and the justice system.
Awarded the Webby Award for excellence on the internet.