On Friday afternoon, while the snow fell on Atlanta, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Erik Hughes v. United States. Mr. Hughes’s attorneys include the Federal Defender Program’s own Stephanie Kearns and Brian Mendelsohn. The pair represented Hughes in front of Judge Murphy in the district court and in the Eleventh Circuit, then were joined by a new teammate: Joshua Rosenkrantz of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in New York. Rosenkrantz was lead counsel on the certiorari petition. You can read the petition here. Rosenkrantz will argue the case in the Supreme Court, but Brian and Stephanie will be at counsel table wearing their Sunday best. Can we convince them to wear their St. Crispin’s Day t-shirts under their suit coats?
The Eleventh Circuit opinion, authored by Judge William Pryor, grappled with two questions: (1) when a Supreme Court opinion includes a fractured, 4-1-4 vote, in which portion of the opinion do we find the binding, precedential value? and (2) does a binding plea agreement forever bar a defendant from seeking a later § 3582 sentence reduction when his guidelines range is retroactively amended downward? You will find a description of the case on the SCOTUSBlog. Vive Team Hughes!