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Recent Supreme Court Decisions

Wearry v. Cain (March 7, 2016)
A Brady claim will prevail when the prosecution withholds police records showing that two inmates made statements that cast doubt on the credibility of a key prosecution witness and when the prosecution falsely denies that one of its witnesses sought a plea deal in exchange for testimony.

Americold Realty Trust v. ConAgra Foods, Inc. (March 7, 2016)
Diversity jurisdiction in a lawsuit by or against a legal entity other than a corporation depends on the citizenship of all of its members, including its shareholders.

V.L. v. E.L. (March 7, 2016)
A Georgia court has subject-matter jurisdiction under Georgia law to enter an adoption judgment regarding legal parents who adopt children in Georgia and end their relationship while living in another state, so the other state must accord full faith and credit to that judgment.

Gobeille v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. (March 1, 2016)
Under the uniform rule design of ERISA, the U.S. Secretary of Labor has the sole authority to determine whether to exempt health care insurance plans from ERISA reporting requirements, and state rules that attempt to control issues of plan reporting, disclosure, and record-keeping thus are expressly preempted.

Lockhart v. United States (March 1, 2016)
Since the sentencing guidelines in this situation are not sufficiently ambiguous to invoke the rule of lenity, the rule of the last antecedent requires imposing a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence enhancement on a defendant convicted of possessing child pornography who previously was convicted of sexual abuse or aggravated sexual abuse.

Most Read Opinions

Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985)
Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a police officer may use deadly force to prevent the escape of a fleeing suspect only if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.

Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968)
Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a police officer may stop a suspect on the street and frisk him or her without probable cause to arrest, if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime and has a reasonable belief that the person "may be armed and presently dangerous."

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)
The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits states from segregating public school students on the basis of race. This marked a reversal of the "separate but equal" doctrine from Plessy v. Ferguson that had permitted separate schools for white and colored children provided that the facilities were equal.

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)
Under the Fourth Amendment, any statements that a defendant in custody makes during an interrogation are admissible as evidence at a criminal trial only if law enforcement told the defendant of the right to remain silent and the right to speak with an attorney before the interrogation started. The prosecution also must be able to prove that any waiver of these rights was both knowing and voluntary.

Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963)
The government's withholding of evidence that is material to the determination of either guilt or punishment of a criminal defendant violates the defendant's constitutional right to due process.

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)
A person may choose to have an abortion until a fetus becomes viable, based on the right to privacy contained in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Viability means the ability to live outside the womb, which usually happens between 24 and 28 weeks after conception.

Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961)
The prosecution is not allowed to present evidence that law enforcement secured during a search that was unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment.

Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003)
A Texas law criminalizing consensual, adult homosexual intercourse violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896)
Later overruled by Brown v. Board of Education, this decision embraced the now-discredited idea that “separate but equal” treatment for whites and African-Americans is permissible under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Tinker v. Des Moines School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969)
Since First Amendment protections extend to students in public schools, educational authorities who want to censor speech will need to show that permitting the speech would significantly interfere with the discipline needed for the school to function.