Thursday, May 25, 2006

Supreme Court cases

The Supreme Court, last Monday, denied the petition of Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman, which would’ve been another death penalty appeal, but uniquely different in directly challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection. (Docket)

On April 26th., the Court heard arguments in Clarence Hill’s appeal, in which the issue is whether death row inmates can bring last-minute challenges to the use of lethal injection under federal civil rights law. According to a article then, the Court may have already started down that second road, delving into that larger question with Justice Stevens commenting at one point to Florida attorneys that their “procedure would be prohibited if applied to cats & dogs.” (Docket & oral arguments )

The decision in Hill is expected next month.

In another case, the Supreme Court unanimously reaffirmed that police officers can enter private property without having to knock or announce their presence in emergencies, this overturning a Utah Supreme Court decision that agreed with the trial court decision that such was a Fourth Amendment violation.

“Because the Fourth Amendment’s ultimate touchstone is ‘reasonableness,’ the warrant requirement is subject to exceptions,” the Court said, citing instances such as the rendering of “emergency assistance to occupants of private property who are seriously injured or threatened with such injury” [Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U.S. 385 (1978)], and repeatedly rejecting applications of a police officer’s “subjective motivation” as irrelevant. [Bond v. U.S., 529 U.S. 334 (2000)]

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