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Oh Yeah, The Supreme Court May Have Done Some Stuff Yesterday Too

By Kevin Fayle on May 27, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
In all the hubbub over the Sotomayor nomination and the Prop. 8 decision, we made no mention of the important decisions that came out of the Supreme Court yesterday.  One case overturned a New York law on Supremacy Clause grounds, another ruled that illegal drug buys made over phone lines don't deserve more prison time than face-to-face purchases, and the third did away with Michigan v. Jackson and gave police more leeway when interrogating suspects without their lawyers present.

You can find FindLaw's summaries of the cases and links to the opinions below:
Haywood v. Drown, No. 07-10374
In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action by a prisoner, judgment for Defendant-Officers is reversed where Correction Law section 24, as applied to Section 1983 claims, violates the Supremacy Clause, because New York's policy of shielding correctional officers from liability for conduct performed in the scope of their employment is contrary to Congress's judgment that all persons who violate federal rights while acting under color of state law shall be held liable for damages. Read more...

Abuelhawa v. US, No. 08-192
Drug distribution conviction is reversed and the case remanded, where Defendant's drug purchases from a third party over the phone constituted misdemeanors, because using a telephone to make a misdemeanor drug purchase does not "facilitate" felony drug distribution in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 843(b). Read more...

Montejo v. Louisiana, No. 07-1529
Capital murder conviction is vacated, where Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625 (1986), is overruled, because requiring an "initial invocation" of the right to counsel in order to trigger the Jackson presumption might work in states that require an indigent defendant formally to request counsel before an appointment is made, but not in more than half the states that appoint counsel without request from the defendant. Read more...

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