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More Supreme Court Action

The US Supreme Court decided a crime-related civil procedure case involving qualified immunity in Ortiz v. Jordan, No. 09-737.  Lawyers for officers need to appeal denial of summary judgment before trial, not after.  After trial, they need to ask for judgment as a matter of law under FRCP 50(b) to take that issue up on appeal.  Opinion by Justice Ginsburg 6-3-0.  Justices Thomas, Scalia, and Kennedy do not think the Rule 50 question is properly presented.

The Court granted certiorari in two criminal cases:

The Michigan SG continues on a roll with Howes v. Fields, No. 10-680 addressing Miranda questions left hanging in Maryland v. Shatzer last term.  When a prisoner is in prison or jail for an unrelated offense, under what circumstances is he in "custody" for Miranda purposes when he is brought out from the general population and questioned by police officers?  When Miranda was still new, Mathis v. United States, 391 U.S. 1 (1968), a characteristically terse Hugo Black opinion, arguably decided that custody is custody.  Justice White thought that was a "cavalier" conclusion.  Subsequent decisions, including Shatzer, cast some doubt on Mathis, but the Sixth Circuit in Fields thought the state court opinion was an unreasonable application of it.

Reynolds v. United States, No. 10-6549, is a challenge to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), including a federalism challenge that Congress exceeded the bounds of its enumerated powers.  Third Circuit opinion rejecting the challenge is here.

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