A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Supreme Court to consider federal jurisdiction over US citizens held in Iraq

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] granted certiorari in six cases [Order List, PDF] Friday afternoon, including the consolidated cases of Munaf v. Geren (06-1666) [docket; cert. petition, PDF] and Geren v. Omar (07-394) [docket], where the Court will decide whether US citizens held by US forces in Iraq can challenge their detention and seek to prevent US forces from turning them over to Iraqi custody. Mohammad Munaf [JURIST news archive] has been convicted and sentenced to death for the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Baghdad, and the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in April that it lacked authority to interfere [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] with the Iraqi court case. Two months earlier, however, the same court ruled that Shawqi Omar [JURIST news archive], arrested for allegedly harboring insurgents in Iraq, has a right to argue his case in US courts. The appeals court blocked Omar's transfer to Iraqi courts [opinion, PDF; JURIST report]. AP has more.

In United States v. Ressam (07-455) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider federal prosecutors' appeal of a decision to dismiss a charge against "millennium bomber" Ahmed Ressam, convicted in 2005 and sentenced to 22 years in prison [JURIST report] for plotting to blow up Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve 1999. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed one of the counts [opinion, PDF] on which Ressam was convicted - carrying explosives during the commission of a felony - saying that prosecutors did not show that the explosives were carried "in relation to" the underlying felony, lying on customs papers. AP has more.

In Burgess v. United States (06-11429) [docket], the Court will consider mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders. Defendant Keith Lavon Burgess is arguing that he should not be subjected to a 20-year minimum sentence reserved for offenders with a prior felony drug conviction because his prior South Carolina conviction for cocaine possession is treated as a misdemeanor under state law even though it is punishable by more than a year in prison.

In Indiana v. Edwards (07-208) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider whether states may impose a high standard to determine whether a defendant is competent to stand trial than the standard put forth by the Supreme Court in Dusky v. United States [text].

In Florida Dept. of Revenue v. Piccadilly Cafeterias (07-312), [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will decide whether an exemption from state and local transfer taxes provided under federal bankruptcy code for reorganization plans confirmed in court applies only after the plan has been approved by a bankruptcy court.

Finally, in Huber v. Wal-Mart (07-480) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider whether a disabled employee who requires transfer to an equivalent position can be required to compete with other employees for the new position. SCOTUSblog has more on all of Friday's cert. grants.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.