Supreme Court Issues Rulings Agreeing With Skadden Amicus Briefs

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued two decisions in agreement with Skadden amicus briefs.

We filed a merits-stage amicus brief on behalf of the American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation project and in support of the petitioner in the Supreme Court case Ayestas v. Davis. The case was decided on March 21 in a 9-0 victory in favor of Ayestas. The question in this case addressed the standard to be used with regard to funding for experts used by federal habeas lawyers in death penalty cases. The ABA, commenting on the Court's holding, said it hopes "this unanimous decision will be a strong message to the lower courts that will help defense teams all over the country get the funding they need" and called the decision "a very important step in the right direction."

We also filed amicus briefs on behalf of the American College of Tax Counsel in support of the petitioner in Marinello v. United States. The petitioner challenged the Internal Revenue Code's "omnibus clause," which makes obstruction of the code's enforcement a criminal offense. The petitioner was sentenced to three years in prison for failing to file personal or corporate tax returns on income from his courier business. The Supreme Court reversed the Second Circuit, where a panel affirmed the petitioner's prison sentence and the clause's broad application and, despite two dissents, en banc rehearing was denied. The Supreme Court's decision agrees with the position set out in the amicus briefs that the team filed. The Court was critical of the "catch-all interpretation" which could lead to prosecutorial abuse.