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Supreme Court to hear prosecutor immunity, EPA regulation cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] Monday granted certiorari in two cases [order list, PDF], including Van de Kamp and Livesay v. Goldstein (07-854) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], in which the Court will consider the legal immunity of a prosecutor implicated in a wrongful conviction murder case. Convicted murderer Thomas Goldstein served 24 years in prison before being released in 2004 after the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court ruling that he was wrongfully convicted, in part due to the prosecution team's reliance on testimony from a habitual jailhouse informant who received undisclosed sentence reductions for his cooperation. Goldstein then sued former Los Angeles District Attorney and his former chief deputy under 42 USC 1983 [text]. The Ninth Circuit ruled [PDF text] that the suit could proceed because the challenged conduct was administrative and not prosecutorial in function and therefore did not merit absolute immunity. AP has more.

The Court also agreed to hear the consolidated cases of Entergy Corp. v. EPA (07-588) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], PSEG Fossil LLC v. Riverkeeper, Inc. (07-589) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], and Utility Water Act Group v. Riverkeeper, Inc. (07-597) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], where it will review challenges to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] regulations aimed at protecting aquatic life by retrofitting cooling water intake structures at power plants. Arguments will be limited to the issue of whether Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act [PDF text] authorizes the EPA to use a cost-benefit analysis to determine what is the "best technology available for minimizing adverse environmental impact" in compliance with the Act. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled [PDF text] that no such balancing test may be used and that companies must adopt the best technology available. Utility industry groups say that decision unlawfully extends EPA authority. AP has more.

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