High Court to Start New Term Monday; Drug-Dealing Case On the Docket


The Supreme Court starts its new term next Monday with few blockbuster criminal cases on the docket so far, although that could change. The court has set only a little more than half of its expected caseload for the term so far. McClatchy Newspapers report that one case already accepted tests the cause-and-effect comparison between drugs and death.

It involves convicted Iowa drug dealer Marcus Burrage, now serving 20 years in a federal prison in Texas. In what McClatchy calls a case that could be key for other accused dealers, as justices could determine what prosecutors must prove to secure conviction on a charge of distributing a drug that causes death. Many court-watchers expect to see cases challenging warrantless police searches of cellphones. In one, San Diego police used photos and videos stored on a Samsung smartphone to link the phone's owner to a criminal gang. The man says the search violated the Fourth Amendment, now a cutting-edge issue because of the proliferation of hand-held electronics.

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