Issue: (1) For purposes of federal habeas review, has the U.S. Supreme Court clearly established the rule that due process prohibits a state court judge from taking into account his own religious beliefs in sentencing a defendant? (2) Did the state court judge violate petitioners’ due process rights when the judge told petitioners, following their guilty plea to the robbery at a church, that they had stolen God’s money intended for the establishment of a religious kingdom on earth and then sentenced each of them to 53 to 71 years? (3) Did the sentences of petitioners, who were adolescents without any serious prior record and did not harm anyone in the robbery, violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment?
On Monday at 9:30 a.m. we expect orders from the October 17 Conference. We do not expect any decisions on the merits but will report promptly on any orders. The Court's next Conference is scheduled for October 31. The November sitting begins November 3.