Summary of actions by the Supreme Court on Tuesday

AP News
Posted: Dec 08, 2009 2:55 PM

The Supreme Court on Tuesday:

_ Appeared inclined to limit federal prosecutors' use of a fraud law that has helped win convictions of high-profile corporate executives and public officials, or throw out the law altogether after hearing arguments from lawyers.

_ Refused to grant a stay of execution for Ohio inmate Kenneth Biros, who was put to death with a one-drug lethal injection instead of the usual three-drug cocktail. Biros had argued Ohio's decision to use one drug would be painful.

_ Decided that a federal judge's decision to force a company to disclose documents that would normally be protected under attorney-client privilege cannot be not immediately appealed to a higher court. This decision was the first written by Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court justice.

_ Told lower courts to reconsider a death sentence for Joseph Kindler for killing one-time accomplice David Bernstein in 1982. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had thrown out his death sentence saying Kindler's lawyer was ineffective and there were problems with the jury instructions.

_ Upheld a lower court decision that a National Railroad Adjustment Board panel should not have thrown out several grievance arbitration cases because of a perceived lack of jurisdiction.