Supreme Court actions

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


U.S. v. O'Brien

The court ruled unanimously that a minimum 30-year prison term for crimes involving a machine gun may not be imposed unless a jury convicts a defendant of using a machine gun. The government had challenged a federal appeals court ruling in the case of Martin O'Brien and Arthur Burgess, who were charged in connection with a 2005 failed robbery of an armored car.

U.S. v. Marcus

The court voted 7 to 1 to reinstate the sex-trafficking and forced-labor conviction of Glenn Marcus, overturning a ruling by a federal appeals court that Marcus's conviction violated the Constitution because he was convicted of breaking a law that wasn't in place when some offenses happened.

Will take next term:

Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn and Garriott v. Winn

The court said it will consider ending a lawsuit that challenges Arizona's tax breaks for donations for private-school scholarships. The appeal was filed by the state and supporters of the program, which provides income tax breaks for donations to school tuition organizations. Some Arizona taxpayers challenged the program as unconstitutional because religious organizations award most of the scholarships and require children to enroll in religious schools.

Skinner v. Switzer

The court has agreed to decide whether a Texas death row inmate should have access to evidence for DNA testing that he says could clear him of three murders. The court will use the case of Hank Skinner to decide whether prison inmates may use a federal civil rights law to do DNA testing that was not performed before their conviction.

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