The U.S. Supreme Court Makes Two Important Rulings This Week
By Menahem Zen | Mar 09, 2017 08:20 AM EST
The U.S. Supreme court ruled two important decision his week. One ruling related to jury secrecy law, while the other one is about the reduced sentenced for repeat offenders.
The first ruling was issued Monday, March 6 about the jury secrecy law, governed by the federal statute. In the case Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, No. 15-606, Supreme Court Justices ruled 5-3 in favor of the defendant Miguel Angel Pena-Rodriguez. The convicted, Pena-Rodriguez was charged guilty in 2007 for sexual assault against two teenage girls. His lawyer filed the appeal to Supreme Court, claiming the jury's verdict for his client was based on the racial bias.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority rule opinion, allowed court to review secrecy principle in case of the juror's deliberation was tainted by racial slurs. Justices Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan ruled in favor of the defendant. While Chief Justice John Roberts with two Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.
Another important ruling was regarding repeat offenders. In the Beckles v. United States, No. 15-8544, Supreme Court unanimously declined the guideline to give a reduced sentenced to a repeat offenders, as reported by Associated Press.
The judges rejected argument from the defendant, Travis Beckles, who challenge his sentencing guideline, arguing the language used in the guideline as vague. The defendant who was sentenced for 30 years said that due to the vague term, giving him a longer prison sentence is unconstitutional.
Justice Thomas in his court order wrote that sentencing guidelines can not be challenged for being too vague. It is because the guideline is just a guide for the courts to impose sentences within an acceptable range. A ruling in favor of Beckles can open the door for 6,000 inmates all across America who were sent to prison under the sentencing guidelines.
Watch he report regarding recent Supreme Court ruling on jury secrecy and racism below: