Published on: Thursday, April 24, 2014
Yesterday, the Court issued opinions in Paroline v. United States (No. 12-8561) and White v. Woodall (No. 12-794).

In Paroline, the Court held that restitution is proper in child pornography cases "only to the extent the defendant's offense proximately caused a victim's losses."  The Court rejected the contention that any one defendant is responsible for the entire loss amount.  Instead, trial courts "should order restitution in an amount that comports with the defendant's relative role in the causal process that underlies the victim's general losses."  For more on the opinion, see this SCOTUSblog post.

In Woodall, the Court reversed the decision of the Sixth Circuit affirming the district court's grant of habeas relief.  Woodall had raised a Fifth Amendment claim based on the state trial court's refusal to grant his request for a no-adverse-inference instruction during the punishment phase of his capital trial. The Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed.  The district court and the Sixth Circuit concluded that the Kentucky Supreme Court's decision was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law under AEDPA.  In reversing, the Supreme Court held that the Sixth Circuit had "disregarded the limitations of 28 U.S.C. 2254(d) -- a provision of law that some federal judges find too confining, but that all federal judges must obey." For more on the opinion, see this SCOTUSblog post.