News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Sotomayor sees 'pall of uncertainty' in capital case; judge backs park proselytizing

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Death-row inmate’s conviction has ‘pall of uncertainty,’ Sotomayor says

Justice Sonia Sotomayor expressed concern on Monday about a “pall of uncertainty” over the conviction of Texas death-row inmate Rodney Reed.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Reed’s appeal, spurring Sotomayor’s statement in which she noted Texas courts are considering a new, 10th habeas petition alleging actual innocence.

Reed was convicted of the rape and murder of a woman married to a former police officer. He says he was having an affair with the woman, and that is why his DNA was found on her body.

“I remain hopeful that available state processes will take care to ensure full and fair consideration of Reed’s innocence,” Sotomayor wrote. (Sotomayor’s statement, the Austin American-Statesman)

Lee Boyd Malvo’s SCOTUS case should be dismissed, parties say

A pending Supreme Court case considering the constitutionality of discretionary life-without-parole sentences for juveniles should be dismissed, according to lawyers for convicted D.C. sniper accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo and the state of Virginia.

The lawyers said the case should be dropped because of a new Virginia law that makes juvenile offenders eligible for parole after 20 years.

At issue in the case was whether the Supreme Court decision banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles should be extended to ban such sentences when they are discretionary. (USA Today, Bloomberg Law)

Judge rules ministry can continue preaching in Chicago park

A federal judge ruled last week that the city of Chicago can’t ban a Christian ministry from evangelizing in most areas of Chicago’s Millennium Park. U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey disagreed with the city’s arguments that the park isn’t a traditional public forum. (The Chicago Tribune, Courthouse News Service, Blakey’s opinion)

CBP wouldn’t release citizen until court action filed, lawyer says

A lawyer had to file a court petition to persuade U.S. Customs and Border Protection to release an immigrant found to be a U.S. citizen by a federal judge. Lawyer Jaime Diez filed a writ of habeas corpus last Tuesday. The immigrant was released to a Whataburger parking lot the same day. (The Brownsville Herald)

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