United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted

Opinions Filed in March 2015

Kansas v. Carr, Jonathan

Does the Eighth Amendment require a jury engaged in capital sentencing to be “affirmatively instructed” that mitigating circumstances “need not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, or whether jury instructions, in context, that are clear that each individual juror must analyze and give weight to a mitigating circumstance satisfies the Eighth Amendment? Also, whether a trial court’s decision to not sever a sibling co-defendant’s sentencing phase from respondent’s violated the right to “individualized sentencing” under the Eighth Amendment and if severed, was not harmless error?

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Kansas v. Gleason

Whether a capital-sentencing jury is required by the Eighth Amendment to be affirmatively instructed, as the Kansas Supreme Court held, that mitigating circumstances need not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, or if the Eight Amendment is satisfied by merely providing instructions that make clear that every juror must weigh and assess mitigating circumstances.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Kansas v. Reginald Carr

Whether the Eight Amendment requires either severance of co-defendants' cases at sentencing or affirmative instructions to sentencing juries that mitigating circumstances need not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan

Whether in a lawsuit under the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act of 1974, a fiduciary can recover an overpayment if the fiduciary did not identify a particular fund for the payment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

DIRECTV, Inc. v. Imburgia

Whether California state law forbids agreements that waive customer rights to bring a class action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Arbitration

Montgomery v. Louisiana

Whether a ban on life sentences without possibility of parole to minors applies retroactively to sentences before the Supreme Court's 2012 landmark decision.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Juvenile Law

Hurst v. Florida

Whether Florida's death sentencing scheme violates the Sixth Amendment or the Eighth Amendment in light of this Court's decision in Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore

Whether spousal guarantors have standing to bring a claim under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), and whether the Federal Reserve Board can include spousal guarantors as “applicants” to avoid discrimination against married women.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Consumer Credit

Ocasio v. United States

Whether the federal statute forbidding extortion requires a conspiracy to commit extortion to target a victim outside the conspiracy.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

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