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Supreme Court to hear double jeopardy case

The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in two cases. In Blueford v. Arkansas [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will decide whether the Double Jeopardy [Cornell LII backgrounder] clause prevents the re-prosecution of a greater offense after the jury announces voting for a not guilty verdict, if a jury deadlocks on a lesser-included offense. Alex Blueford contends that jeopardy attached to the jury's determination that he is not guilty of capital murder and its lesser-included offense of first-degree murder. The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld [opinion, PDF] the order denying Blueford's motions to prevent his retrial on the charge of capital murder and its lesser-included offenses.

In Freeman v. Quicken Loans, Inc. [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will decide whether Section 8(b) of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) [text] prohibits a real estate settlement services provider from only charging an unearned fee when the fee is divided between two or more parties. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that the RESPA prohibits only kickbacks and referral fees, not unearned fees by a sole provider of settlement services. Therefore, charges that Quicken imposed on the appellants for loan discount fees and a loan processing fee are not prohibited by Section 8(b) of the RESPA.

Also Tuesday, the court denied certiorari in Adar v. Smith [docket; JURIST report], in which a same-sex couple wants both their names on the birth certificate of an adopted child. The issue presented was whether denying non-married couples from having both names appear on an adopted child's birth certificate is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution.

The court also denied certiorari in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal [docket; JURIST Philadelphia Inquirer backgrounder], letting stand the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit's decision [JURIST report] granting a new sentencing hearing for Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal is a former member of the Black Panthers who was convicted and sentenced to death for killing a police officer in Philadelphia in 1981.

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