The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in four cases Wednesday. The court consolidated the cases of Turner v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF] and Overton v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF], limited to the question of “[w]hether the petitioners’ convictions must be set aside under Brady v. Maryland [opinion].” Both cases involve the 1984 murder of Catherine Fuller. Petitioners were convicted of the murder but learned years later that the prosecution had failed to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense as required under Brady.
In Lee v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will consider the case of a non-citizen who was advised to plead guilty to drug charges even though a guilty plea would result in his deportation. The government concedes that Lee’s attorney provided bad advice when assuring him that a guilty plea would not result in his deportation, but the lower courts found that Lee was not prejudiced by this advice because of the overwhelming evidence against him. The question before the court is “whether it is always irrational for a defendant to reject a plea offer notwithstanding strong evidence of guilt when the plea would result in mandatory and permanent deportation.”
In TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will rule on the appropriate venue for patent suits. TC Heartland is organized and does business in Indiana but was sued for patent infringement in Delaware. The patent venue statute [28 USC § 1400(b)] provides that patent infringement actions “may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides.” The general venue statute [28 USC § 1391] takes a broader approach, allowing corporations to reside in more than one jurisdiction. While the Supreme Court ruled [opinion] in 1957 that the patent venue statute should not be supplemented by the general venue statute, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled here that subsequent amendments to the general venue statute should allow its application. The question before the court is “[w]hether 28 USC § 1400(b) is the sole and exclusive provision governing venue in patent infringement actions and is not to be supplemented by 28 USC § 1391(c).”