The U.S. Supreme Court will begin its October 2017 term tomorrow. First up for the October 2017 term is Sessions v. Dimaya, which is being reargued Monday. For those of you who are not familiar with Dimaya, the Court will resolve in that case whether 18 U.S.C. 16(b) is unconstitutionally vague. A favorable ruling in Dimaya could create further opportunities for many to challenge their convictions and sentences. The court was tied 4-4 when it attempted to resolve the case earlier in the year. See, "Dimaya, Of Dimaya ... Where Art Thou?" Justice Gorsuch will cast the deciding vote. I have no idea what he will do, but I intend on listening to the argument tomorrow and will share my thoughts.

The Court has also accepted review in a number of other important criminal cases for its October 2017 term. Below is a listing of those cases, and then they are scheduled for argument. If no argument date is listed, then argument has not yet been scheduled for the October 2017 term.

October 2017 Term - Criminal Cases

october 2017 term

October 2017 Term - Criminal Cases

Sessions v. Dimaya, No. 15-1498 [Arg: 10.02.2017]

Issue(s): Whether 18 U.S.C. 16(b), as incorporated into the Immigration and Nationality Act's provisions governing an alien's removal from the United States, is unconstitutionally vague.

Jennings v. Rodriguez, No. 15-1204 [Arg: 10.03.2017]

Issue(s): (1) Whether aliens seeking admission to the United States who are subject to mandatory detention under 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b) must be afforded bond hearings, with the possibility of release into the United States, if detention lasts six months; (2) whether criminal or terrorist aliens who are subject to mandatory detention under Section 1226(c) must be afforded bond hearings, with the possibility of release, if detention lasts six months; and (3) whether, in bond hearings for aliens detained for six months under Sections 1225(b), 1226(c), or 1226(a), the alien is entitled to release unless the government demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the alien is a flight risk or a danger to the community, whether the length of the alien’s detention must be weighed in favor of release, and whether new bond hearings must be afforded automatically every six months.

District of Columbia v. Wesby, No. 15-1485 [Arg: 10.04.2017]

Issue(s): (1) Whether police officers who found late-night partiers inside a vacant home belonging to someone else had probable cause to arrest the partiers for trespassing under the Fourth Amendment, and in particular whether, when the owner of a vacant home informs police that he has not authorized entry, an officer assessing probable cause to arrest those inside for trespassing may discredit the suspects' questionable claims of an innocent mental state; and (2) whether, even if there was no probable cause to arrest the apparent trespassers, the officers were entitled to qualified immunity because the law was not clearly established in this regard.

Class v. U.S., No. 16-424 [Arg: 10.04.2017]

Issue(s): Whether a guilty plea inherently waives a defendant's right to challenge the constitutionality of his statute of conviction.

Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, No. 16-658 [Arg: 10.10.2017]

Issue(s): Whether Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5)(C) can deprive a court of appeals of jurisdiction over an appeal that is statutorily timely, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 4th, 7th and 10th Circuits have concluded, or whether Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5)(C) is instead a nonjurisdictional claim-processing rule because it is not derived from a statute, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 9th and District of Columbia Circuits have concluded, and therefore subject to equitable considerations such as forfeiture, waiver and the unique-circumstances doctrine.

Ayestas v. Davis, No. 16-6795 [Arg: 10.30.2017]

Issue(s): Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit erred in holding that 18 U.S.C. § 3599(f) withholds “reasonably necessary” resources to investigate and develop an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim that state habeas counsel forfeited, where the claimant's existing evidence does not meet the ultimate burden of proof at the time the Section 3599(f) motion is made.

Carpenter v. U.S., No. 16-402

Issue(s): Whether the warrantless seizure and search of historical cellphone records revealing the location and movements of a cellphone user over the course of 127 days is permitted by the Fourth Amendment.

Collins v. Virginia, No. 16-1027

Issue(s): Whether the Fourth Amendment's automobile exception permits a police officer, uninvited and without a warrant, to enter private property, approach a house and search a vehicle parked a few feet from the house.

Murphy v. Smith, No. 16-1067

Issue(s): Whether the parenthetical phrase “not to exceed 25 percent,” as used in 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(d)(2), means any amount up to 25 percent (as four circuits hold), or whether it means exactly 25 percent (as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit holds).

Marinello v. U.S., No. 16-1144

Issue(s): Whether a conviction under 26 U.S.C. 7212(a) for corruptly endeavoring to obstruct or impede the due administration of the tax laws requires proof that the defendant acted with knowledge of a pending Internal Revenue Service action.

Byrd v. U.S., No. 16-1371

Issue(s): Whether a driver has a reasonable expectation of privacy in a rental car when he has the renter's permission to drive the car but is not listed as an authorized driver on the rental agreement.

City of Hays, Kansas v. Vogt, No. 16-1495

Issue(s): Whether the Fifth Amendment is violated when statements are used at a probable cause hearing but not at a criminal trial.

McCoy v. Louisiana, No. 16-8255

Issue(s): Whether it is unconstitutional for defense counsel to concede an accused's guilt over the accused's express objection.

Rosales-Mireles v. U.S., No. 16-9493

Issue(s): Whether, in order to meet the standard for plain error review set forth by the Supreme Court in United States v. Olano that "[t]he Court of Appeals should correct a plain forfeited error affecting substantial rights if the error ‘seriously affect[s] the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings,’” it is necessary, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit required, that the error be one that “would shock the conscience of the common man, serve as a powerful indictment against our system of justice, or seriously call into question the competence or integrity of the district judge.”

Additional Information On October 2017 Term

For more information about the Supreme Court's October 2017 term, please visit the Supreme Court's website:

About Brandon Sample

Brandon Sample is an attorney, author, and criminal justice reform activist. Brandon’s law practice is focused on federal criminal defense, federal appeals, federal post-conviction relief, federal civil rights litigation, federal administrative law, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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