Friday, May 31, 2013

Metrish v. Lancaster: Kiss Your Defense Goodbye

Burt Lancaster the actor, no relation to Metrish v. Lancaster
Wrong Burt Lancaster
The United States Supreme Court recently decided Metrish v. Lancaster. The Court reversed the Sixth Circuit and held that Lancaster was not entitled to federal habeas relief where the trial judge retroactively applied a state supreme court decision that eliminated a defense, which he had used at his first trial, at his retrial on the same charges. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

State of Maine v. Collier: No RAS, No Seizure, No Problem

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court recently decided State of Maine v. Matthew Collier 2013 ME 44, and vacated the trial court's order granting a motion to suppress. The court disagreed with the trial judge and found that, while there was no reasonable articulable suspicion to support a traffic stop, no RAS was needed since the defendant's interaction with police did not constitute a seizure for fourth amendment purposes.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Moncrieffe v Holder: From State Felony to Federal Misdemeanor

 Matthew Kenwrick via flickr
In Moncrieffe v. Holder, the Supreme Court reversed the deportation order for a Jamaican born legal permanent resident. Adrian Moncrieffe pled guilty in a Georgia court to possession with intent to distribute 1.3 g of marijuana. Federal authorities determined that this was an "aggravated felony" and deportation was therefore mandatory. The Supreme Court's 7-2 majority held that, where there is no proof of remuneration and only a small amount of marijuana involved the crime is not an aggravated felony for immigration purposes. Moncrieffe, who was deported to Jamaica and separated from his wife and children, will likely be able to return to this country. The outcome seems right, but the law that got us here is awfully strange.