Supreme Court hears oral arguments in DNA evidence and injured worker cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF; briefs] in two cases on Monday. In District Attorney’s Office v. Osborne [argument transcript, PDF; JURIST report], the Court heard arguments on whether a defendant has the right to obtain post-conviction access to the state’s biological evidence under Section 1983 [text] or the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process clause. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that Osborne has a right to access the evidence against him on appeal, even though his lawyer made a strategic decision to forgo independent DNA analysis for the trial. The petitioner in the case, the State of Alaska, argued that Osborne does not have a right to the evidence under Section 1983 because the state already allows defendants to access such evidence through a habeas corpus petition if they have made an appeal based on actual innocence, which Osborne has not done.

In Atlantic Sounding v. Townsend [argument transcript, PDF; JURIST report], the Court heard arguments on whether an injured seaman may recover punitive damages for the willful failure of his employer to pay a basic living allowance, wages that he otherwise would have earned, and benefits to cover medical expenses. The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit had affirmed [opinion, PDF] a lower court ruling that Townsend could recover the damages. Atlantic Sounding, the petitioner in case, contended that the applicable statutes, the Jones Act [text] and the Death on the High Seas Act [text], do not provide for such expenses.

 

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.