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The case of Domineque Ray surprised many people across the country. Ray was convicted of rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl, and sentenced to death. And while there may not be too much surprising about a death sentence for rape and murder of a minor, his final appeal strikes a chord with civil rights advocates, regardless of their stance on the death penalty.

Ray challenged the fact that he was not allowed to have a spiritual leader from his faith present at the execution. The state allows a Christian chaplain in the execution chamber, but rejected Ray's request to allow his imam. Initially, the district court struck down Ray's challenge, but on the appeal, the Eleventh Circuit stayed the execution due to the clear Establishment Clause and religious discrimination concerns. Unfortunately for Ray, a five to four SCOTUS majority overruled the stay, and he was put to death.

A recent 5 to 4 opinion of the High Court clarifies the Armed Career Criminal Act's definition of violent crimes to include crimes that involve the minimum amount of force needed to overcome resistance. The ACCA imposes harsher mandatory minimum sentences for offenders that have a history of committing violent crimes.

The case before the Justices involved Denard Stokeling, who pleaded guilty to charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Then received a 15-year minimum sentencing enhancement under the ACCA due to a prior robbery conviction. However, the enhancement was initially denied at the district court level where he was given a much shorter sentence, but after an appeal, which was just upheld by SCOTUS, he received a 15-year sentence under the ACCA guidelines.

The plot is surely thickening in the Mueller secret grand jury subpoena matter against the undisclosed foreign corporation.

SCOTUS just terminated the temporary stay that was issued on an emergency basis in favor of the mystery foreign corporation pending the Justices holding a conference on whether to take the matter up. Making matters a bit more interesting, it seems that the undisclosed corporation has also filed a petition seeking permission to seek writ in a filing under seal.

This week, a highly anticipated case asking whether restitution can be ordered without a jury trial got killed during a SCOTUS conference.

However, in the aftermath an unlikely pair of Justices agreed over a dissent. Justice Gorsuch filed a written dissent to which Justice Sotomayor joined. The dissent explains that ordering restitution without the safeguard of a jury trial seems to run afoul of either or possibly both the Sixth and Seventh Amendments' guarantees of a jury for criminal and civil matters.

A recent unanimous High Court decision is making headlines thanks to it clearing up some semantic confusion. According to SCOTUS, the crime of burglary not only includes homes, businesses, and livable structures, but also vehicles that can be adapted to be, or are designed to be, lived in.

The case made it to the Supreme Court because of purported ambiguity when it came to sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act, which imposes mandatory sentencing guidelines for federal convicts with prior violent crime convictions, including burglary. The confusion is alleged to stem from the word burglary; specifically, whether under the ACCA, the term burglary included vehicles that could be adapted or are used as dwellings.

Justice Sonya Sotomayor has issued another dissent in a case involving another death row inmate opting for the electric chair over a lethal injection as his preference for execution. And while the ink was barely dry on the page, David Miller was executed.

The impassioned Justice explains in a brief page-and-a-half dissent, that the very idea that Miller's choice was voluntary is a "fiction." She further explains that the inmate should not have been required to show other "available alternative means of his own execution." In a footnote, the Justice quotes another court's finding that "electrocution will unquestionably inflict intolerable pain unnecessary to cause death in enough executions so as to present a substantial risk that any prisoner will suffer unnecessary and wanton pain."

This week, after the High Court closed for a day to honor the late President Bush, it heard arguments in the highly-watched Gamble case, which involved a rather risky challenge to settled Supreme Court precedent involving the separate sovereign exception to double jeopardy.

One of the reasons this case has become so highly-watched is due to the potential implications it could have for Paul Manafort, or anyone else connected to President Trump that may face federal charges and could benefit from a pardon. While Gamble's case is definitely a little bit different, his appeal hinges on the High Court ruling that the separate sovereign exception is unconstitutional and violates the very principle behind double jeopardy.

In a lonely dissent, Justice Sotomayor explained that she believes her colleagues made a mistake in not taking up the matter of Edmund Zagorski.

Zagorski became the first person to be executed in the electric chair in five years in this country, and that was due to the fact that the lethal injection couldn't be proven to be painless, given the recent troubles we've all seen and read about. In short, while lethal injection was once believed to be a painless process, it is now understood to feel like being burned alive from the inside out while drowning and suffocating (for as long as 18 minutes).

The case of Vernon Madison was just argued before the Supreme Court again. However, this time, there might be a bit of a catch 22, or perhaps, a catch 8, seeing as how the Court is one justice shy of the full 9.

Nevertheless, for the death row inmate suffering from dementia, the novel legal questions his case has presented has stumped scholars and justices over the past few years. The big question boils down to whether a person with dementia, who cannot remember his crime(s), should be executed. Generally, there are exceptions to death sentences. Namely, per SCOTUS's own rulings, minors and the mentally incompetent cannot be executed thanks to the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

In a detailed 5- 4 opinion, the High Court basically proclaimed the following rule when it comes to law enforcement obtaining an individual's cell phone location data:

Before compelling a wireless carrier to turn over a subscriber's CSLI, the Government's obligation is a familiar one -- get a warrant.

In Carpenter v. U.S., Justice Roberts, for the majority, stressed the fact that individuals have a privacy interest in their cell phone location data, and that absent probable cause and a warrant, or exigent circumstances, it cannot be searched by law enforcement.