Hurst v. Florida - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 11-7-15 featuring Jack Park
John J. Park, Jr. November 07, 2015

On October 13, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Hurst v. Florida.  Timothy Lee Hurst was convicted of murdering his co-worker and sentenced to death after a jury recommended that penalty by a vote of 7-5.  The question before the Court here is whether Florida’s death sentencing scheme--which Hurst contends does not require unanimity in the jury death recommendation or in the finding of underlying aggravating factors--violates the Sixth or Eighth Amendments in light of the Court’s 2002 decision Ring v. Arizona, which holds that the aggravating factors necessary for imposition of a death sentence be found by a jury. 

To discuss the case, we have Jack Park, who is Of Counsel with Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP.

Downsides of Civil Juries - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Renée Lettow Lerner, Suja Thomas September 25, 2015

As with many things in life and in the law, there are pros and cons. This program will focus on that premise with civil juries. Proponents argue that the civil jury system, with jurors drawn from the general public, represents the values and judgment of the public in individual cases, and that deliberations among those same jurors generally lead to just results. Critics argue that complex cases should be decided by judges or special masters rather than lay jurors who cannot properly comprehend the complexities of some cases, that jurors are more susceptible to what should be unconvincing arguments by particularly persuasive attorneys, or that juries otherwise reach conclusions sometimes not supported by law. There is also concern that verdicts by juries do not permit thorough appeal on the merits. The civil jury has been virtually abolished in every other common law country. Should the system be reexamined? Is it in need of updating? Our experts answered these and other questions.


  • Prof. Renée Lerner, Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Prof. Suja Thomas, Professor, University of Illinois College of Law

The Juror Dishonesty Case

Short video with Rachel Paulose discussing Warger v. Shauers
Rachel K. Paulose October 08, 2014

Does Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b) permit a party moving for a new trial based on juror dishonesty during voir dire to introduce juror testimony about statements made during deliberations that tend to show the alleged dishonesty? Former U.S. Attorney, Rachel Paulose, explains Warger v. Shauers.

Residual Class Action Awards: Cy Pres - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Theodore H. Frank March 21, 2014

gavel money

Cy pres (from the French cy pres comme —“as near as possible”) originated in the trust context, but has more recently been applied to class action litigation, as courts try to determine what to do with sometimes significant amounts of settlement funds remaining after all identified plaintiff awards have been made.  In recent decades, courts have agreed to award such remaining funds to third party recipients who, while not parties to the underlying suits, are deemed worthy by the court.  Sometimes, the courts have selected these third party recipients based on recommendations from the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.  What are the legal underpinnings for such awards to entities or people not party to the underlying case?  What are the policy considerations in making or prohibiting such awards?  These and other questions were discussed by our experts.


  • Prof. Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Mr. Theodore H. Frank, Founder and President, Center for Class Action Fairness and Adjunct Fellow, Manhattan Institute Center for Legal Policy

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Alleyne v. United States - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-24-13 featuring Ryan Scott
Ryan Scott June 24, 2013

Ryan ScottOn June 17, 2013 the Supreme Court announced its decision in Alleyne v. United States. The question here was whether the Supreme Court’s 2002 decision in Harris v. United States--that the Constitution does not require a jury to determine facts used to increase a mandatory minimum sentence--should be overruled.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that any fact that increases the mandatory minimum sentence for a crime is an “element” that must be submitted to the jury and found beyond a reasonable doubt.  Accordingly the Court overruled its earlier decision in Harris, vacated the judgment of the lower court, and remanded Alleyne’s case for further proceedings.  Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined Justice Thomas’s opinion as to Parts I, III–B, III–C, and IV, and Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan further joined Parts II and III–A.  

Justice Sotomayor also filed a concurring opinion in which Justice Ginsburg and Justice Kagan joined.  Justice Breyer filed a separate opinion concurring in part and in the judgment.  Chief Justice Roberts filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Scalia and Kennedy.  Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion.   

To discuss the case, we have Ryan Scott, who is an Associate Professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

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