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Criminal Law

Immigration Cases in the Supreme Court - Podcast

International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
John C. Eastman June 23, 2015

On June 15, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued ruling in two important immigration cases: Mata v. Lynch and Kerry v. Din.

In Mata v. Lynch, the Court overturned the Fifth Circuit’s refusal to hear an appeal of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision to dismissal of Noel Reyes Mata’s request to appeal his deportation to Mexico, holding that the Fifth Circuit erred in declining to take jurisdiction over Mr. Mata’s appeal.

In Kerry v. Din, the Court overturned the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that petitioner Fauzia Din was denied constitutional due process protections when her husband, Kanishka Berashk, a resident citizen of Afghanistan and a former civil servant in the Taliban regime, was denied an immigration visa to the United States on the grounds that he was inadmissable under American law that excludes aliens who have engaged in “[t]errorist activities,” and when Mrs. Din and Mr. Berashk were subsequently denied review of their appeal in U.S. District Court. The Court held that the U.S. Government’s long practice of regulating immigration, which has included erecting serious impediments to a person’s ability to bring a spouse into the United States, precludes Mrs. Din’s claim.

Our expert, Chapman University School of Law Prof. John C. Eastman, analyzed these opinions and offered his perspectives of their impact on immigration policy.

  • Prof. John C. Eastman, Director, Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Henry Salvatori Professor of Law and Community Service, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Supreme Court Rules on Facebook Threats – Elonis v. United States - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
John Elwood, Kent S. Scheidegger June 09, 2015

On Monday, June 1, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Anthony Douglas Elonis, who was prosecuted under a 1939 law prohibiting the communication of threats for allegedly threatening his estranged wife via Facebook. Has the Supreme Court clarified the legal status of violent speech on the internet, or merely added to the confusion? Our experts discussed the opinion and its implications.

  • John Elwood, Partner, Vinson & Elkins LLP
  • Kent S. Scheidegger, Legal Director & General Counsel, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation

Supreme Court to Consider Oklahoma Execution Method - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Kent S. Scheidegger May 05, 2015

On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Glossip v. Gross. The case turns on the efficacy of the first drug in Oklahoma’s three-drug execution protocol, the subject of controversy after a highly publicized botched execution last year; critics claim that this drug is unable to reliably produce the deep, coma-like unconsciousness necessary to avoid the pain and suffering that can result from the administration of the second and third drugs, and that the protocol violates the Eighth Amendment because of this. Oral arguments were expected to be revealing as to whether the court will focus narrowly on the specific execution method in question or range more broadly over important constitutional issues related to the death penalty.

  • Kent S. Scheidegger, Legal Director & General Counsel, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation

Johnson v. United States - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-24-15 featuring Richard Myers
Richard E. Myers April 24, 2015

On April 20, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Johnson v. United States. This case concerns two questions. The first is whether mere possession of a short-barreled shotgun should be treated as a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act. The second question asks whether the residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act, which mandates that a minimum sentence of fifteen years be imposed upon someone who unlawfully possesses a firearm and has had three prior "violent felony" convictions--with the phrase “violent felony” including any crime that “involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another”--is unconstitutionally vague.

To discuss the case, we have Richard Myers who is the Henry Brandis Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Unconstitutional Vagueness and the Armed Career Criminal Act – Supreme Court Re-Hears Johnson v. United States - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Vikrant P. Reddy April 21, 2015

The “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act requires a mandatory minimum fifteen-year sentence for anyone who has three prior “violent felony” convictions and is found to unlawfully possess a firearm. This clause has been addressed at the Supreme Court on numerous occasions in recent years, with Justice Scalia suggesting that it is unconstitutionally vague. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Johnson v. United States in November with no mention of the question, and after two months of silence re-scheduled the case for additional argument and instructed the parties to address this question directly. Many Court-watchers have suggested that there may now be five votes on the Court to declare the residual clause unconstitutionally vague.

  • Vikrant P. Reddy, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Effective Justice, Texas Public Policy Foundation