Supreme Court News
On March 3, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Hall v. Florida, the first time the Court has revisited the standard for the mental retardation exclusion to the death penalty since its 2002 landmark decision in Atkins v. Virginia.
In November 2013, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer criticized Alabama’s use of judicial overrides in an unusual dissent from a denial of a petition for certiorari.
On November 5, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided Burt v. Titlow and reversed the underlying grant of relief by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The case originally appeared to be a follow-up to the 2012 decisions in Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye, which addressed counsel's duty to provide effective assistance of counsel concerning guilty pleas.
On December 11, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed a Kansas Supreme Court decision that had overturned Scott Cheever’s conviction and death sentence due to a violation of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
On February 24, 2014, in a per curiam decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Alabama death row prisoner Anthony Ray Hinton’s trial counsel was ineffective under Strickland v. Washington for failing to seek funds to hire an expert witness. The case was remanded for a hearing to determine whether the negligence was prejudicial.