ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, CIVIL PROCEDURE, CIVIL RIGHTS, CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE
Jones v. Bock, No. 05–7058, 05–7142 (U.S.S.C. January 22, 2007)
Procedural rules adopted by the Sixth Circuit and other lowers courts, designed to implement the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) exhaustion requirement and to facilitate early judicial screening, are not required by the PLRA, and crafting and imposing them exceeded the proper limits on the judicial role.
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ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, CIVIL PROCEDURE, GOVERNMENT LAW, INJURY AND TORT LAW, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW
Osborn v. Haley, No. 05–593 (U.S.S.C. January 22, 2007)
In the context of the Westfall Act, which accords federal employees absolute immunity from tort claims arising out of acts undertaken in the course of their official duties, the Attorney General's scope-of-employment certification is conclusive for purposes of removal. Once certification and removal are effected, exclusive competence to adjudicate the case resides in the federal court, and that court may not remand the suit to the state court. Also, Westfall Act certification is proper when a federal officer charged with misconduct asserts, and the Attorney General concludes, that the incident or episode in suit never occurred.
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CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, SENTENCING
Cunningham v. California, No. 05-6551 (U.S.S.C. January 22, 2007)
California's determinate sentencing law, by placing sentence-elevating factfinding within the judge's province, violates a defendant's right to trial by jury safe-guarded by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments.
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