Skinner v. Switzer

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
09-9000 5th Cir. Oct 13, 2010
Tr.Aud.
Mar 7, 2011 6-3 Ginsburg OT 2010

Holding: Federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction over civil rights lawsuits, filed under Section 1983, that seek access to DNA evidence to challenge a state conviction.

Plain English Holding: Convicted inmates seeking access to DNA evidence to prove their innocence may do so by filing a federal civil rights lawsuit, rather than having to undertake the more difficult process of filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

Judgment: Reversed, 6-3, in an opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on March 7, 2011. Justice Thomas filed a dissent, which was joined by Justice Kennedy and Justice Alito.

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