Supreme Court to Hear Criminal Justice Cases

Article excerpt

The Supreme Court began its new term on Oct. 5 with a variety of cases on its docket, including nine criminal justice cases, one civil rights case and two public employment cases. Below are a number of cases and the issues to be resolved.

Criminal Justice

City of Chicago v. Jesus Morales, et al. 97-1121 Street Gangs

1. The court will determine whether a loitering ordinance authorizing the arrest of persons who have disobeyed a police order to move on, given when a police officer has reasonable cause to believe that a group of loiterers contains a member of a criminal street gang, is impermissibly vague in violation of due process guarantees.

2. The court will determine whether an ordinance that requires a group of loiterers containing criminal street gang members to obey a police order to move on violates substantive due process guarantees.

United States v. Jacinto Rodriquez-Moreno 97-1139 Firearms

1. The court will determine whether venue in a prosecution for using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence is proper in any district in which the defendant committed the underlying crime of violence, even if the defendant did not use or carry the firearm in that district.

Minnesota v. Wayne T. Carter 97-1147 Searches

1. The court will determine whether an invitee into a residence, whose sole purpose for being present is to assist the resident in an illegal activity, has a legitimate expectation of privacy while within the residence under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

2. The court will determine whether a police officer's nonenhanced use of his natural senses to observe criminal activity in a residence from a public area outside the curtilage of the residence is a search under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Francis Halloway v. United States 97-7164 Due Process

1. The court will determine whether the court of appeals' holding that conditional intent is included within the legal definition of specific intent in the amended carjacking statute violates both fundamental principles of statutory construction and the petitioner's constitutional rights to due process of law.

City of West Covina, Calif., v. Lawrence Perkins, et al. 97-1230 Due Process

1. The court will determine whether the procedural component of the 14th Amendment's due process clause requires a police department to provide legal advice and guidance concerning how to pursue post-deprivation judicial remedies for the return of property seized during the execution of a search warrant.

2. The court will determine whether a balancing test should be used by federal courts to expand procedural rights in the context of post-deprivation remedies.

Nathaniel Jones v. United States 97-6203 Due Process

1. The court will determine whether the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals violated the petitioner's right to due process by sentencing him to a maximum term when he had no notice that he was facing such a term.

2. The court will determine whether conduct attributed to the petitioner in the trial is sufficient evidence of a substantial effect on interstate commerce such that it would invoke Congress' authority under the commerce clause. …