DEFENDER SERVICES OFFICE
TRAINING DIVISION





The Defender Services Office Training Division furthers the right to effective assistance of counsel by providing training and other resources to attorneys appointed under the Criminal Justice Act.





    March 03, 2015
    Supreme Court to Rule on Conspiracy to Extort

    Yesterday the Supreme Court granted cert in Ocasio v. United States (No. 14-361) to decide whether a conspiracy to commit extortion requires that the conspirators agree to obtain property from someone outside the conspiracy. 



    February 25, 2015
    Supreme Court Holds That a Fish Is Not a "Tangible Object" Under 18 U.S.C. §1519

    Today the Court issued an opinion in Yates v. United States, in which it reversed the judgment of the Eleventh Circuit.  In the plurality opinion Justice Ginsburg wrote, "Mindful that in Sarbanes-Oxley, Congress trained its attention on corporate and accounting deception and cover-ups, we conclude that a matching construction of §1519 is in order: A tangible object captured by §1519, we hold, must be one used to record or preserve information."  For an analysis of the opinion see this SCOTUSblog post.



    January 26, 2015
    Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Oklahoma's Lethal Injection Protocol

    After refusing to delay the execution of one of the petitioners, the Supreme Court granted cert last Friday in Glossip v. Gross (No. 14-7955), to decide these questions regarding the constitutionality of Oklahoma's three-drug lethal injection protocol. See these articles in the New York Times and NPR for more on the case. 



    January 20, 2015
    Supreme Court to Rule on Mental State Required for Conviction Under Controlled Substances Analogue Act; Issues Decisions in Two Habeas Cases

    On January 16, 2015 the Supreme Court granted cert in McFadden v. United States (No. 14-378) to decide whether, to convict a defendant of distribution of a controlled substance analogue, the government must prove the defendant knew that the substance constituted a controlled substance analogue.

    The Court also issued a summary reversal in the capital habeas case of Christeson v. Roper (No. 14-6873), ruling that, pursuant to Martel v. Clair, 565 U.S. ___ (2012), the Eighth Circuit improperly affirmed the district court's denial of the petitioner's motion for substitute counsel.

    In addition, on January 13, 2015, the Court held in Jennings v. Stephens (No. 13-7211) that a prisoner who sought federal habeas relief based on three theories of ineffective assistance of counsel and prevailed in the district court on two of them is not required to file a cross-appeal or seek a certificate of appealability on the third theory to rely on it as part of his defense against the state’s appeal.  For an analysis of the opinion, see this SCOTUSblog post.



    January 13, 2015
    Supreme Court Hands Down Opinion on Forced-Accompaniment Provision of Bank Robbery Statute

    Earlier today the Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion holding that “a bank robber 'forces [a] person to accompany him,' for purposes of [18 U.S.C.] §2113(e), when he forces that person to go somewhere with him, even if the movement occurs entirely within a single building or over a short distance."



    January 13, 2015
    Sentencing Commission Publishes Proposed Guideline Amendments

    On January 9, 2015 the Sentencing Commission voted to publish proposed amendments to the guidelines and issues for comment.  The Commission will hold a hearing in March and will vote on the final amendments in April.

    Full story

    January 12, 2015
    Supreme Court to Decide Whether ACCA's Residual Clause Is Unconstitutionally Vague

    On Friday, the Supreme Court ordered supplemental briefing and oral argument in Johnson v. United States (No. 13-7120), a case that was first argued in November, 2014. In the new order, the Court has asked the parties to address: "Whether the residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U. S. C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), is unconstitutionally vague."



 

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