Let the October 2016 Term commence!
The Supreme Court term kicks off this week with five oral arguments. On Tuesday, the Court hears Bravo-Fernandez v. United States. Security firm owner Juan Bravo-Fernandez was accused of bribing former Puerto Rican Senator, Hector Martinez-Maldonado. Both were convicted of violating a federal bribery statute, but the appellate court vacated the conviction due to an improper jury instruction. After the case was remanded, the district court acquitted both defendants. This decision was also vacated on appeal. The Supreme Court will consider whether the Double Jeopardy Clause prevents the defendants from being tried yet again. The Atlantic dives into the case and the history of double jeopardy.
On Tuesday, the Court will also hear arguments in Shaw v. United States, a case involving the definition of defrauding a bank under the Bank Fraud Act of 1984. Lawrence Shaw was convicted of bank fraud under the act after he opened a PayPal account in Stanley Hsu’s name and then transferred money from Hsu’s bank account into the PayPal account. The Court will have to decide if defrauding a bank under the Act requires not only the “intent to deceive,” but also that the bank be the target of the deception. Amy Howe of Scotusblog examines likely arguments to be made on both sides of the case.
On Wednesday the court hears Salman v. United States. Bassam Salman was convicted of insider trading by using information he obtained from his brother-in-law for his own investments. The Court must decide if the sole evidence of a familial relationship is enough to convict individuals of insider trading. CNBC says this “decision will have a major impact on insider-trading enforcement for years to come.” In its op-ed “Time For A New Pleading Standard,” Forbes.com looks at the history of insider trading in the federal criminal justice system.
Also on Wednesday the Court hears Buck v. Davis. Duane Edward Buck was convicted of capital murder and received the death penalty. In Texas, for the jury to impose a death sentence, they must find evidence that the defendant is likely to commit future crimes. Among the evidence the Buck’s jury heard on this question was testimony of an expert witness presented by his own defense team who explained that since Mr. Buck is black, he has an increased likelihood of committing future offenses. Mr. Buck appeals on the grounds of ineffective counsel were all denied. The Court will have to decide if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit put too great a burden on Mr. Buck in showing that his lawyers were ineffective in calling this prejudiced expert. In its Supreme Court preview, the New York Times argues that this case makes the acknowledgment of systematic racism “impossible to avoid.”
The final case to be heard this week is Manuel v. City of Joliet. Manuel was arrested in 2011 after a police officer falsified evidence that he was in possession of ecstasy. He was held based on this false evidence until the State’s Attorney’s office dismissed the charges. The Court will consider if Manuel has a right to sue under the Fourth Amendment for malicious prosecution. At issue is whether the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful search and seizure extends into legal proceedings after an arrest is made. Chicago-Kent’s very own Professor Sheldon Nahmod submitted an amicus brief to the Court. Here is his summary of the brief. And Chicago-Kent Professor and ISCOTUS Co-Director Carolyn Shapiro, who recently served as Illinois Solicitor General, was counsel of record on the amicus brief Illinois filed in support of the respondent.