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Supreme Court hears oral arguments related to qualified immunity, rights waived by guilty plea

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard [argument calendar] oral arguments for two cases Wednesday.

In District of Columbia v. Wesby [transcript, PDF], police arrested trespassers in a vacant house. The trespassers stated that they were invited by someone else while the homeowner stated they did not invite anyone. The case questions whether the police are able to discredit the suspects' claims of innocent mental state when assessing probable cause if the homeowner informs them there is no authorized entry. The case also questions if the police officers are entitled to qualified immunity if there is no probable cause to arrest apparent trespassers due to the law not being clearly established.

In Class v. United States [transcript, PDF], the issue is whether a guilty plea waives a defendant's right to challenge the constitutionality of the statute under which they were convicted. The court has previously determined that "a defendant who pleads guilty can still raise on appeal any constitutional claim that does not depend on challenging his 'factual guilt.'" The question presented notes that circuit courts have become divided on whether challenged the constitutionality of statute would survive a plea, or if the plea is a concession of factual guilt that would thus waive the ability to challenge.

The start of the October 2017 term for the US Supreme Court has seen several high profile cases. This includes a case [JURIST report] determining if non-citizen aliens may be held indefinitely without a bond hearing. It also includes a case [JURIST report] investigating the practice of gerrymandering.

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