American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 48, Issue 3, 60-73


Copyright © 2012 American Judges Association. Used by permission.


The United States Supreme Court’s 2011-2012 Term was big. The headline on the civil side of the docket was the Affordable Care Act decision.1 The blockbuster on the criminal side was United States v. Jones,2 the Global Positioning System (GPS) monitoring case. In Jones, the Court showed that some old things can be new again—the justices gave us “new” ways of thinking about Fourth Amendment searches. There were other key criminal-law rulings as well, including on effective assistance and plea negotiations, confrontation, juries and criminal fines, juvenile life-without-parole sentences, and double jeopardy. And as in the previous Term, the Court issued several opinions emphasizing the deference to be afforded state courts on federal habeas corpus review. This article examines some of the most notable criminal-law-related opinions of the Supreme Court’s 2011 Term, focusing on those decisions that have the greatest impact upon the states. It concludes with a brief preview of the 2012-2013 Term.