Monday, February 27, 2006

Meanwhile,what's up at the Supreme Court US?

From :

Monday, February 27, 2006
Court grants no new cases
Posted by Lyle Denniston at 10:02 AM

The Supreme Court on Monday issued its regular orders list. No new cases were granted, and there was no action on the pending appeal by Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen challenging his detention as an "enemy combatant" (Padilla v. Hanft, 05-533).

Few of the actions on the list were noteworthy. Among the cases the Court refused to hear was a test of what a buyer of a used car must prove to support a claim that a dealer committed fraud under federal law in making the sale. Lower courts are divided, according to the appeal in Ioffe v. Skokie Motor Sales (05-735) over the requirements to prove a violation of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act.

The Court approved the Solicitor General's request to take part in the oral arguments on cases testing the scope of the exclusion of evidence under the Crawford v. Washington decision on the Confrontation Clause. The cases involve "excited utterances" made by an individual to police either in a 911 call or at a crime scene. The cases are Davis v. Washington (05-5224) and Hammon v. Indiana (05-5705).

RESPONSE: A reader calls attention to the Court's denial of review of a case challenging the protocol for lethal injection as the method of execution (Hill v. Florida, 05-8731). The denial was unremarkable. The Court had previously denied a stay of execution in this case (on Jan. 24), but a day later granted a stay when it agreed to review of a separate appeal (05-8794) by Hill on his procedural rights in making such a challenge. The Florida Supreme Court ruling that Hill had asked the Court to review in this case found that the Lancet study, on which many of these challenges to the execution protocol is based, did not entitle Hill to an evidentiary hearing on whether that protocol violates the Eighth Amendment.

The Lancet study, the state court found, "does not sufficiently call into question our holding" in a 2000 case, Smith v. State, upholding the state's specific protocol.

"The trial court in this case correctly determined," the state court said in Hill, "that this study does not entitle Hill to relief. As it clearly admits, the study is inconclusive....[The study does not] provide evidence that an adequate amount of sodium pentothol is not being administered in Florida, or that the manner in which this drug is administered in Florida prevents it from having its desired effect."

Since the first of this year, the Supreme Court has repeatedly refused to hear challenges based on the Lancet study. Those appeals were last-minute challenges to execution. A clearer view of the Court's reaction to complaints about lethal injection protocol will come when the Justices act on the appeal in Abdur'Rahman v. Bredesen (05-1036), which does not involve a final-hour challenge. A response in that case is due on March 20.


Also interesting, IMHO, is the denial of certiorari in Clarence Hill's petition for certiorari to the Florida Supreme Court. According the AP, this petition raises the substantive lethal injection question.
Hill v. Florida, 05-8731
Posted by: Kent Scheidegger at February 27, 2006 11:17 AM

I notice that Justice Alito is voting on petitions for rehearing in cases on which he did not sit when they were decided. I thought that was not done, or is it just an issue when a non-sitting justice votes in favor of rehearing such a case?
Posted by: r.friedman at February 27, 2006 01:09 PM


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