In all the hubbub over the Sotomayor nomination and the Prop. 8 decision, we made no mention of the important decisions that came out of the Supreme Court yesterday. One case overturned a New York law on Supremacy Clause grounds, another ruled that illegal drug buys made over phone lines don't deserve more prison time than face-to-face purchases, and the third did away with Michigan v. Jackson and gave police more leeway when interrogating suspects without their lawyers present.
You can find FindLaw's summaries of the cases and links to the opinions below: Haywood v. Drown, No.
In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action by a prisoner,
judgment for Defendant-Officers is reversed where Correction Law section 24, as
applied to Section 1983 claims, violates the Supremacy Clause, because New
York's policy of shielding correctional officers from liability for conduct
performed in the scope of their employment is contrary to Congress's judgment
that all persons who violate federal rights while acting under color of state
law shall be held liable for damages. Read more...
Abuelhawa v. US, No.
Drug distribution conviction is reversed and the case
remanded, where Defendant's drug purchases from a third party over the phone
constituted misdemeanors, because using a telephone to make a misdemeanor drug
purchase does not "facilitate" felony drug distribution in violation of 18
U.S.C. section 843(b). Read more...
Montejo v. Louisiana, No.
Capital murder conviction is vacated, where Michigan v.
Jackson, 475 U.S. 625 (1986), is overruled, because requiring an "initial
invocation" of the right to counsel in order to trigger the Jackson presumption
might work in states that require an indigent defendant formally to request
counsel before an appointment is made, but not in more than half the states that
appoint counsel without request from the defendant. Read more...