Supreme Court Notebook

Sotomayor delivers first court opinion of new term

WASHINGTON (AP) § Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court's newest member, got to deliver the Supreme Court's first opinion of the new term.

It was also Sotomayor's first opinion as a Supreme Court justice. She joined the court in August.

Sotomayor read aloud the opinion she wrote at the beginning of Tuesday's court session.

The case was Mohawk Industries v. Carpenter. The case involved a question of whether a lower court's decision on attorney-client privilege can be appealed to a higher court.

The Supreme Court agreed that the federal judge's decision releasing documents created by Mohawk Industries' lawyer could not be appealed. The judgment of the court was unanimous.

Court: Reconsider death sentence for Kindler

WASHINGTON (AP) § The Supreme Court will let lower courts consider reinstating a death sentence for a convicted murderer who twice escaped from prison after being found guilty of killing a man who was planning to testify against him.

The high court overturned a lower court decision throwing out the death sentence against Joseph Kindler for killing one-time accomplice David Bernstein in 1982.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had said Kindler's lawyer was ineffective and also found problems with the jury instructions.

State courts had never decided on Kindler's claims. Instead, those courts said Kindler forfeited the right to be heard on those issues because of his escapes.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the state court decision has to be considered by the federal courts.


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