Justice System

Taylor v. Barkes could have been a significant qualified immunity case. Prison officials asked the Supreme Court to resolve a circuit split over whether supervisors can be liable for constitutional violations caused by their failure to supervise. The Court “expess[ed] no view” on the vitality of supervisory liability instead concluding no clearly established constitutional right was implicated in this case.  

In a per curiam (unauthored) opinion the Court granted two prison officials qualified immunity related to an inmate’s suicide reasoning that no precedent at the time of the suicide established that an incarcerated person had a right to proper implementation of adequate suicide prevention protocols. So prison officials could not be liable for failing to supervise the contractor providing suicide screening.

In Foster v. Humphries the Supreme Court will decide whether potential black jurors were purposely excluded in violation of Batson v. Kentucky.

In 1987 Timothy Tyrone Foster, who is black, was sentenced to death for murdering an elderly white woman. The jury was all-white; the prosecutor peremptorily struck all four prospective black jurors.  Prosecutors may strike a number of jurors for any unstated reason except because of race and sex, the Supreme Court has held.

In Kingsley v. Hendrickson the Supreme Court will specify the standard for determining what amount of force used against a pretrial detainee is excessive.  The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief in this case arguing that the same or similar standard should apply to excessive force claims brought by pretrial detainees and post-conviction detainees. 

To date, the Supreme Court’s docket for next term has less than ten cases.  Two of them involve the death penalty.  Combined, they raise at least three issues.   

It is difficult to know what issues the Court will decide in Hurst v. Florida.  In his certiorari petition Timothy Lee Hurst asked the Court to decide at least six issues.  The Court combined and shortened Hurst’s questions presented to address whether Florida’s death penalty sentencing scheme violates the Sixth (right to a jury trial) and Eighth (no cruel and unusual punishment) Amendments.    

CSG Midwest
For criminal offenders released from prison or jail, a “second chance” for them often begins with the ability to find employment. But many obstacles can stand in the way of a successful job search. Removing some of those barriers is the goal of bills passed over the past few years in several of the Midwest’s legislatures.
 
CSG Midwest
No death-row inmates will be executed in Ohio this year, as the state transitions to a new mix of lethal drugs to put people to death. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, which made the announcement in January, had previously planned to execute six people in 2015.
 

In 2012 in Miller v. Alabama the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that states may not mandate that juvenile offenders be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.  The question in Toca v. Louisiana was whether Miller is retroactive; that is, whether it should apply to those convicted before the case was decided. 

Toca has been dismissed as George Toca has been released from prison after pleading guilty to two counts of armed robbery in exchange for his murder conviction being vacated. ...

In City & County of San Francisco v. Sheehan the Supreme Court will decide whether, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), police must accommodate a suspect’s mental illness when arresting him or her.  The State and Local Legal Center’s (SLLC) amicus brief argues no because no conclusive evidence indicates that...

CSG Midwest
Illinois will soon go from having the Midwest’s lowest minimum rate of pay for jurors to one of the region’s highest. The change is the result of SB 3075, passed by the General Assembly and signed into law in December.
 

Since 1997, states have been able to bill for Medicaid-enrolled inmates who leave prisons or jails longer than 24 hours for health treatment in a hospital or nursing facility. That provision is an important but little-known exception to the federal prohibition on spending Medicaid funds for health services to inmates of state prisons and local jails, according to Dr. Nicole Jarrett, who spoke at September’s CSG Medicaid Leadership Policy Academy.

Pages