This is an article I wrote for Florida Defender Magazine about my 2012 encounter with Justice Scalia. What the article doesn’t say is that my husband and I momentarily enjoyed a glass of wine with him afterwards and found him to be humble, approachable…and likable.
Article is available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0wx14jit4ara242TTVEZlVubVk/view?usp=sharing
SCOTUS dismissed TOCA v. Louisiana on Tuesday in which the court was to consider whether Miller v. Alabama applied retroactively. George Toca was released from prison after a plea bargain with prosecutors for time-served. Meanwhile, the same issue is still pending before the Florida Supreme Court in Lawton v. State, SC13-685.
Question 1: Is it constitutionally permissible for a state to carry out an execution using a three-drug protocol where (a) there is a well-established scientific consensus that the first drug has no pain relieving properties and cannot reliably produce deep, comalike unconsciousness, and (b) it is undisputed that there is a substantial, constitutionally unacceptable risk of pain and suffering from the administration of the second and third drugs when a prisoner is conscious.
Question 2: Does the Baze-plurality stay standard apply when states are not using a protocol substantially similar to the one that this Court considered in Baze?
Question 3: Must a prisoner establish the availability of an alternative drug formula even if the state’s lethal-injection protocol, as properly administered, will violate the Eighth Amendment?
Glossip v. Gross, 2015 WL 127627 (10th Cir. Jan. 12, 2015) (cert granted 1/23/2015 case 14-7955)
Opinion Below: https://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/14/14-6244.pdf
After counsel for a death row inmate missed the filing deadline for his federal habeas corpus petition, the prisoner requested substitution of counsel based on conflict of interest as his existing counsel could not reasonably be expected to argue that the prisoner was entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations. The Supreme Court held that these sort of conflicts permit substitution of counsel but the prisoner must still prove, through new counsel, that he is entitled to equitable tolling.
Christeson v. Roper, 14-6873 (Jan. 20, 2015)
Per curiam, with dissent from Alito and Thomas
A department of correction’s grooming policy which prohibits a Muslim inmate from growing a beard in accordance with his religious beliefs violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.
Holt v. Hobbs, 13-6827 (Jan. 20, 2015)
Alito delivered the unanimous opinion.
Title 18, Section 2113(e), United States Code, establishes an enhanced penalty for anyone who “forces any person to accompany him without the consent of such person” in the course of committing or fleeing a bank robbery. The Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY held that a bank robber “forces [a] person to accompany him,” for purposes of § 2113(e), when he forces that person to go somewhere with him, even if the movement occurs entirely within a single building.
Whitfield v. USA, 574 U.S. _____ (Jan. 13, 2015)
(Justice Scalia wrote the opinion)