In the Supremes-October 2011 term

Monday kicks off opening arguments for the new SCOTUS term.  Here is a listing of pending cases, culled from SCOTUSBlog, of criminal law cases that may have some relevance to military justice practitioners (non of them are military cases).

Argument date | case number | case name | summary of QP.



Maples v. Thomas

Whether the Eleventh Circuit properly held that there was no “cause” to excuse any procedural default where petitioner was blameless for the default, the state’s own conduct contributed to the default, and petitioner’s attorneys of record were no longer functioning as his agents at the time of any default.



Howes v. Fields

Whether this Court’s clearly established precedent under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 holds that a prisoner is always "in custody" for purposes of Miranda any time that prisoner is isolated from the general prison population and questioned about conduct occurring outside the prison regardless of the surrounding circumstances.

The next two cases are of particular relevance to defense counsel.



Missouri v. Frye

Can a defendant who validly pleads guilty assert a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel by alleging that, but for counsel’s error in failing to communicate a plea offer, he would have pleaded guilty with more favorable terms? What remedy, if any, should be provided for ineffective assistance of counsel during plea bargain negotiations if the defendant was later convicted and sentenced pursuant to constitutionally adequate procedures?



Lafler v. Cooper

Whether a state habeas petitioner is entitled to relief when his counsel deficiently advises him to reject a favorable plea bargain but the defendant is later convicted and sentenced pursuant to a fair trial.



Perry v. New Hamp.

Do the due process protections against unreliable identification evidence apply to all identifications made under suggestive circumstances or only when the suggestive circumstances were orchestrated by the police?



Smith v. Cain

1) Whether there is a reasonable probability that the outcome of Smith’s trial would have been different but for Brady and Giglio/Napue errors; 2) whether the state courts violated the Due Process Clause by rejecting Smith’s Brady and Giglio/Napue claims.



Williams v. Illinois

Whether a state rule of evidence allowing an expert witness to testify about the results of DNA testing performed by non-testifying analysts violates the Confrontation Clause, when the defendant has no opportunity to confront the actual analysts.

SCOTUSBlog notes several (non criminal law) cases still to be scheduled for argument. And cases for the January, February, March, and April court sittings are yet to be set.

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