Hamer v Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago

Hammer appealed the dismissal of his appeal arguing the appellate rule on timeliness was not jurisdictional. The court unanimously agreed, reversed and remanded. It held that only timeliness rules set by federal statute are jurisdictional, the rule here was a rule of court and thus can be forfeited or waived, the changes in the governing statute relied upon by Neighborhood never covered the situation here where an extension of time was granted for a reason other than lack of notice and the Court precedent relied upon by the 7th Circuit here dealt with a limit set by Congress not one set by a court. The case was remanded to address other issues raised by the parties.

Dunn v Madison

Dunn sought review of the 11th Circuit decision barring the execution of Madison. The Court, with three justices concurring, reversed per curium. The majority held that while Madison may not remember killing a police officer execution style, the record supports a finding that he knows he will be executed for the murder and no Court precedent prevents execution of a death sentence merely because the defendant cannot remember committing the crime. Ginsberg, joined by Breyer and Sotomayor concurred arguing the statutory restrictions on reviewing state law judgments in habeas cases prevent review of the issue of whether memory of crime is necessary for a person to be put to death. Breyer added a concurrence arguing the waiting periods for those on death row render some deaths sentences unconstitutional and also argued the constitutionality of the death penalty should be reconsidered.

Kernan v Cuero

Kernan sought review of the 9th Circuit decision granting Cuero habeas relief and a lower sentence. The Court reversed per curium holding no Court precedent required specific performance of an agreed lower sentence where the state was allowed to amend the complaint to add prior felonies to the complaint which raised the minimum sentence and the 9th Circuit’s reading of the court’s Santobello decision was inconsistent with how the Court ha understood that decision.