Supreme Court Developments

On January 21, 2022, the Supreme Court granted the certiorari petition in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, 21-429, limited to the first question presented:  Whether a State has authority to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indians in Indian country.   (The second question presented on which certiorari review was not granted is: Whether McGirt v. Oklahoma, 140 S. Ct. 2452 (2020), should be overruled.)

On January 20, 2022, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Hemphill v. New York, 595 U.S. ___ (Jan. 20, 2022), a non-capital murder case where the defense argued that a third party was the actual shooter of the gun whose stray bullet struck and killed a 2-year-old-child.  The Supreme Cout ruled that the defendant's Confrontation Clause rights were violated by the admission of portions of the transcript from the unavailable third party's plea allocution in which he admitted to possession of a different caliber gun than the one that caused the victim's death.  The Supreme Court found it was not the judge’s role to decide that the unconfronted evidence was reasonably necessary to correct a misleading impression allegedly created by the defense case. "Such inquiries are antithetical to the Confrontation Clause."