Supreme Court to rule on interviewing suspected child sex abuse victims

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in six cases. In the consolidated cases of Camreta v. Greene [docket; cert. petition, PDF] and Alford v. Greene [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will decide how to apply the Fourth Amendment [text] to a child suspected of being sexually abused. The petitioners were co-defendants in a case involving a child who was temporary seized and interviewed regarding suspected abuse. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that, despite the fact that there was a violation of an individual's constitutional rights, the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity against the Fourth Amendment claims. The court will determine whether the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant, court order, parental consent or exigent circumstances in order to allow law enforcement and child welfare officials to conduct a temporary seizure and interview a child suspected of being sexually abused. In Camreta, the court will also address whether the Ninth Circuit's constitutional ruling is reviewable, notwithstanding that it ruled in the petitioner's favor on qualified immunity grounds.

In Bond v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will determine whether a criminal defendant, who has been convicted under a federal statute, has standing to challenge the conviction on grounds that the statute is beyond the federal government's enumerated powers and inconsistent with the Tenth Amendment [text]. The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that Bond lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of the statute on the basis of the Tenth Amendment. The appeals court added that claims that the statute is vague and overboard fall short and that Bond was appropriately punished for her offenses.

The court will also hear the case of Borough of Duryea v. Guarnieri [docket; cert. petition, PDF] to determine whether state and local government employees may sue their employers for retaliation under the Petition Clause of the First Amendment [text] when they petitioned the government on matters of private concern. The Third Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that government employees can sue their employers for retaliation under the First Amendment. The ruling was in direct contradiction to decisions by all 10 other federal circuits and four state supreme courts.

In DePierre v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will determine whether the term "cocaine base" encompasses every form of cocaine that is classified chemically as a base, which would mean that the same 10-year mandatory minimum sentence applies to offenses involving 50 to 500 grams of raw coca leaves or of the paste derived from coca leaves, or whether the term "cocaine base" is limited to "crack" cocaine. The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that the statute intends for the term "cocaine base" to include all forms of cocaine base, including, but not limited to, crack cocaine.

In Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A. [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will decide whether the legal standard for the state of mind element of a claim for actively inducing patent infringement under 35 USC § 271(b) [text] is "deliberate indifference of a known risk" to encourage an infringement. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that is the correct legal standard. The petitioners contend that this was in error, due to the court's previous finding that "purposeful, culpable expression and conduct" to encourage an infringement is the appropriate standard.

Finally, the court will also hear the case of Madison County v. Oneida Indian Nation [docket; cert. petition, PDF]. The court will determine whether tribal sovereign immunity from suit bars taxing authorities from foreclosing to collect lawfully imposed property taxes and whether the ancient Oneida reservation in New York was disestablished or diminished. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found [opinion, PDF] that Oneida Indian Nation is immune.

 

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