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Supreme Court takes death sentence case, other appeals

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear Oregon v. Guzek (docket 04-928), a death sentence case involving a convicted murderer's efforts to bring evidence into his sentencing hearing that would cast doubt on the conviction. A ruling here could clarify the Supreme Court's 1988 decision in Franklin v. Lynaugh [opinion]; it could also have an impact on the case of accused terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui, who entered a guilty plea on Friday [JURIST report] and for whom the government will be seeking the death penalty.

Other cases granted certiorari Monday were Domino's Pizza v. McDonald (04-593), a Ninth Circuit civil rights case involving restaurant construction; Lockhart v. U.S. (04-881), which tests the federal government's power to reduce an individual's Social Security pension or disability benefits as a way to recover defaulted student loan debt [AP has more]; Dolan v. U.S. Postal Service (04-848), addressing whether the Federal Tort Claims Act [resource page] allows a claim for injury due to tripping on mail left on the plaintiff's porch; and Martin v. Franklin Capital Corp. (04-1140), which seeks to resolve a circuit split over the standard to be used in deciding whether to award attorneys' fees in a case remanded to state court after having been removed to federal court. All five cases accepted Monday will be heard in the new term starting in October. Also Monday, the court declined to hear Acree v. Iraq (04-820), an appeal by 17 current and former US military personnel held as prisoners of war and tortured during the 1991 Gulf War. The full Order list is here. SCOTUSblog has more.

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