The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in three cases following its February 24 conference. Among the cases that were denied review was a case involving a constitutional challenge to the death penalty. The petitioner in Reed v. Louisiana [docket; cert. petition, PDF] was sentenced to death in Caddo Parrish, Louisiana, a county that has sentenced more people to death than any other county in the country. In a dissent [text, PDF] to the denial of certiorari, Justice Stephen Breyer cited the “arbitrary role that geography plays in the imposition of the death penalty” as one of the reasons he would have granted the petition.
In Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine if federal appellate courts should adopt the interpretation of Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5)(C) [text] used by the Second, Fourth, Seventh and Tenth Circuits, which states that the rule deprives a court of appeals of jurisdiction over an appeal that is statutorily timely, or whether they should adopt the interpretation of the Ninth Circuit, which allows for equitable considerations such as forfeiture, waiver, and the unique-circumstances doctrine. The question arose after the petitioner sued the Housing Services of Chicago and Fannie Mae’s [official websites] Mortgage Help Center following her termination as an intake specialist. She claims the respondent violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act [materials] when they fired her.
In Wilson v. Sellers [docket; cert. petition, PDF], a capital case, the court will determine if its decision in Harrington v. Richter [opinion] silently abrogated the presumption that that a federal court sitting in habeas proceedings should “look through” a summary state court ruling to review the last reasoned decision. The case concerns Marion Wilson, a Georgia man who remains on death row nearly 20 years after he was convicted of malice murder in connection with a robbery. Wilson claims his trial counsel was ineffective, in part because it failed to present evidence of his troubled upbringing.
Finally, in Artis v. District of Columbia [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine if the tolling provision in Section 1367 of Title 28 [text, PDF] suspends the limitations period for a supplemental jurisdiction claim while the suit is pending and for thirty days after the claim is dismissed, or whether the tolling provision does not suspend the limitations period but merely provides 30 days beyond the dismissal for the plaintiff to refile. The petitioner claims that the 30-day limit for her to refile her discrimination suit against her Department of Health supervisor, as well as the District of Columbia, should not have elapsed, even though 45 days had passed since her federal suit was dismissed. The petitioner is asking the court to adopt a “grace period” approach to the statute of limitations, as opposed to the “stopped clock” or “suspension” approach used by many jurisdictions.