Supreme Court hears arguments on sentencing, jury duty

Supreme Court hears arguments on sentencing, jury duty

The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two cases Tuesday. In Mathis v. United States [transcript, PDF] the court heard arguments on “whether a court can consider a statute or subsection, outside of the convicting statute, that defines a term in the convicting statute.” Richard Mathis was convicted as a felon in possession of a firearm and received an enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) [18 USC § 924(e)]. The ACCA applies to individuals convicted of three prior violent felonies. Mathis alleges that his five prior convictions of second-degree burglary are non-violent under the ACCA as they do not qualify as “burglary” contemplated in the language of the ACCA.

In Dietz v. Bouldin [transcript, PDF] the court heard arguments on whether a judge may recall jurors for further service in the same case after the jury has been dismissed and the jurors have left the judge’s presence. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a district court could re-empanel a jury shortly after dismissal [opinion, PDF], “but only if, during the period of dismissal, the jurors were not exposed to any outside influences that would compromise their ability to fairly reconsider the verdict.”