Raising the Bar Podcast

Podcast that examines legal issues/policies and the impact on women of color. We aim to inform, educate & provide concrete tools to empower, expand and help our community.

Episode 8 Update | SCOTUS Decisions

Hey y’all! In episode 8, I discussed a few cases from the Supreme Court’s current term. Well, the Court has issued rulings for some of them, and I didn’t want to leave you hanging!

Madison v. Alabama: In a 5-3 decision (John Roberts sided with the liberals, and Kavanaugh was excluded) the Court ruled that while a person may be executed if they do not remember a crime, a person can’t be executed if they do not understand why the state wants to execute them. The test is if the person comprehends why they are being executed, not their memory of the crime itself.

Nielsen v. Preap: In a 5-4 decision, the Court expanded a mandatory-detention provision and held that immigrants who have committed certain crimes are not entitled to a bond hearing and once detained can be held in federal custody until their removal proceedings are resolved. This is a horrible decision given the current administration’s stance on illegal immigration. For more information: https://www.jurist.org/news/2019/03/supreme-court-rules-immigrants-do-not-have-right-to-bond-hearing/

Armed Career Criminal Act Cases

The ACCA imposes a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence on any federal firearms offender who has three or more convictions for a “violent” felony or serious drug offense.

Stokeling v. US: In a 5-4 decision the Court ruled state robbery statutes that require “resistance … overcome by physical force,” even if the force used is “minimal,” are sufficient to satisfy the prior-conviction requirement of the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. This is problematic because purse snatching and pick-pocketing can amount to violent felonies for purposes of a federal law. For more information: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/15/us/politics/supreme-court-violent-felony-purse-snatching.html

US v. Stitt and Sims (consolidated cases): In an unanimous decision, the Court ruled the term “burglary” in the Armed Career Criminal Act includes burglary of a structure or vehicle that has been adapted or is customarily used for sleeping.