During its 2012-13 session, the U.S. Supreme Court made the following decisions in civil rights cases:
In Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, by 7-2 vote, the court ruled persons seeking to register to vote must produce documentary proof of U.S. citizenship.
In Shelby County v. Holder, the court dealt with a 2006 congressional reauthorization of the requirement for pre-clearance of voter registration in some U.S. counties and political subdivisions. In a 5-4 ruling, the court stuck down use of the pre-clearance formula.
Bailey v. United States leaves intact holdings of Michigan v. Summers where police can detain persons near to a home being searched; however, the Court held by 6-3, that persons not in the immediate vicinity may not be detained.
In Florida v. Harris, the Court found by 9-0 that trained drug-sniffing dogs are generally reliable enough to create probable cause for a search.
On the other hand, in Florida v. Jardines, the Court found by 5-4 that use of a drug- sniffing dog on someone’s porch constitutes a violation of the Fourth Amendment, in absence of a warrant or consent.
In Missouri v. McNeely, it was held the mere fact that alcohol dissipates in the bloodstream, does not constitute an exigent circumstance allowing for testing a persons blood without warrant. The Court held by 8-1 that each case must be determined individually.
In Maryland v. King, the Court held by 5-4 that DNA testing is an identification tool like fingerprinting and photographing. No specific suspicion is required of arrestees to conduct DNA testing.
In Salinas v. Texas, by 5-4 it was held that a defendant does not necessarily have to invoke his rights against self-incrimination when questioned by police.
In Evens v. Michigan, by 8-1 the Court decided that a trial court’s directed verdict of acquittal bars retrial even if the law was misinterpreted or there was misunderstanding of the elements of the offense.
In a 5-4 decision, Alleyne v. United States, found that any fact increasing the mandatory minimum of a sentence must be found by a jury, just as do the facts increasing the statutory maximum.
In Moncrieffe v. Holder by 7-2 the High Court held that a conviction for distributing a small amount of marijuana without remuneration is not an “aggravated felony” mandating deportation.
Federal Tort Claims Act:
The Court unanimously decided in Levin v. United States that the “intentional tort” exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act would not prevent a suit against government officials for claims of battery due to medical services.
In Millbrook v. United States, the Court ruled inmates could sue the government for sexual assault by prison guards.
Indian Child Welfare Act:
In a 5-4 decision, the Court held in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, Indian parents who have never had physical or legal custody of their children are not covered in legislation designed to preserve the integrity of Indian families.
In Ryan v. Gonzales, the Court unanimously ruled that a death row inmate who has been judged incompetent is not entitled to an indefinite stay of his federal habeas proceedings.
In a 7-2 decision, the Court held in Chaidez v. United States, that failure to advise a criminal defendant of the immigration consequences of a guilty plea represents ineffective assistance of counsel.
In Johnson v. Williams, the Court unanimously held that a federal habeas court reviewing a state court judgment should presume that the state court considered all federal claims properly presented to it, even if they are not discussed in the state court opinion.
In a 9-0 decision, Metrish v. Lancaster, reaffirmed that a judicial reinterpretation of the law can be applied retroactively without violating due process unless it is unforeseeable.
In a 5-4 decision, Trevino v. Thaler, held the failure raise ineffective assistance of counsel in state post-conviction proceedings is not a bar to federal habeas relief if the habeas petitioner received ineffective assistance in the state post-conviction proceedings as well.
In McQuiggin v. Perkins, the Court ruled 5-4 that federal habeas petition may be considered even after the one-year statute of limitations has expired if the petitioner presents a “tenable” claim of actual innocence based on new evidence.
In a 5-4 decision, Peugh v. United States, the Court ruled that sentences based on guidelines adopted after the crime was committed are not permitted, if the new guidelines provide a higher sentencing range.