U.S. Supreme Court decides three cases in two rulings on June 14

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued rulings in three cases on June 14. Two of the cases, Greer v. United States and United States v. Gary, were decided in one consolidated opinion, though they were argued separately. The cases were argued during the court’s April sitting. The third case, Terry v. United States, was argued on May 4.

Greer and Gary concerned plain-error review in felon-in-possession cases in light of SCOTUS’ ruling in Rehaif v. United States. Justice Brett Kavanaugh authored the majority opinions in both cases. Justice Sonia Sotomayor concurred in part and dissented in part from the judgment. 

In Greer, the court unanimously upheld the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit’s ruling, while in Gary, the court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit’s judgment in an 8-1 ruling. In its consolidated opinion, the court held that in felon-in-possession cases, a Rehaif error is not a basis for plain-error relief unless the defendant first makes a sufficient argument or representation on appeal that they would have presented evidence at trial that they did not in fact know they were a felon.

In the case Terry v. United States, the court ruled unanimously that an offender convicted of a crack cocaine offense is eligible for a sentence reduction under the First Step Act only if that prior conviction triggered a mandatory minimum sentence. Justice Clarence Thomas authored the court’s majority opinion. Justice Sonia Sotomayor filed a concurring opinion.

The court has issued 46 opinions this term. Seven cases were decided without argument. Of the cases argued this term, 18 remain to be decided.

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