Supreme Court Sets Aside Death Sentence for Triple Murderer

By Christopher Zoukis In a brief, unsigned opinion handed down October 11, the U.S. Supreme Court has thrown out the death sentence an Oklahoma jury gave Shaun Michael Bosse after convicting him in 2010 of the first-degree murders of his former girlfriend and her two young children. Bosse fatally stabbed 25-year-old Katrina Griffin and her

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New Supreme Court Term Includes Major Cases Affecting Inmates

By Christopher Zoukis What will happen with the one U.S. Supreme Court vacancy after the death last February of Justice Antonin Scalia will undoubtedly be decided after the results of November’s election. But the high court new term, which began October 3rd, already includes several major cases that could redefine the validity of sentences handed

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Supreme Court Accepts Two New Texas Death Penalty Challenges

By Christopher Zoukis   Although challenges to the death penalty have not fared all that well at the Supreme Court in recent years, its new term starting in October will contain at least two more cases brought by Death Row inmates. On June 6, the high court agreed to take up two separate appeals brought

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FAQs: The Impact of the Alleyne Decision

By Craig M. Coscarelli


On June 17, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court hand down a remarkable 5-4 decision in Alleyne v. United States,( No. 11-9335) (S. Ct. June 17, 2013) wherein the Court held that [a]ny fact that increases the mandatory minimum is an “element” that must be submitted to the jury and found beyond a reasonable doubt. The money quote from the majority opinion was ” because there is no basis in principle or logic to distinguish facts that raise the maximum from those that increase the minimum, Harris was inconsistent with Apprendi. It is, accordingly, Overruled.” Alleyne, slip opinion, at page 15.

While the students of the law here at U.S.P. Lewisburg  have not had time yet to fully study the Alleyne case, based on a much-to-quick first read, and first cut reaction, we have put together the below list of frequently asked questions addressing how we believe the Alleyne decision will impact your case.

1) Is Alleyne Retroactive?

Answer: Whether or not a new rule of law announced by the Supreme Court is to apply retroactively in criminal cases on habeas review for the first time depends largely on whether this rule is substantive or procedural.

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