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Case Basics
Docket No. 
United States
(Argued the cause for the United States)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause as amicus curiae by invitation of the Court)
Facts of the Case 

Arnold Hohn was convicted, among other things, of using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense. Two years after his conviction became final, the Supreme Court decided that the term "use" in 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c)(1) required active employment of the firearm. Hohn filed a pro se motion under 28 U.S.C. Section 2255 to vacate his Section 942(c)(1) conviction on the ground that the evidence presented at his trial was insufficient to prove use of a firearm. While his motion was pending before the district court, Congress enacted the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), which requires a Section 2255 petitioner to obtain a certificate of appealability from a circuit justice or judge before he can appeal the denial of a Section 2255 petition. 28 U.S.C. Section 2253(c)(1). The district court denied Hohn's petition and he appealed. The court of appeals treated the notice of appeal as an application for a certificate of appealability, and a three-judge panel declined to issue a certificate. Hohn then petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to review the denial of the certificate, seeking to invoke the Court's jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. Section 1254(1).


Does the Supreme Court have jurisdiction to review decisions of the courts of appeals denying applications for certificates of appealability?

Decision: 5 votes for Hohn, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 28 U.S.C. 1254

Yes. A certificate application is a "case in" the court of appeals under Section 1254(1). It presents an immediate and redressable injury, and there is adversity as well as the other requisite qualities of a case. Indeed, Hohn's application moved through the Eighth Circuit as cases in general do, yielding a decision that has been regarded as precedential. Many other factors confirm this conclusion as well. This decision overrules that portion of House v. Mayo, 324 U.S. 42, 44 (1945) (per curiam), which held that the Court lacks statutory certiorari jurisdiction to review denials of certificates of probable cause.

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HOHN v. UNITED STATES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_96_8986>.
HOHN v. UNITED STATES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_96_8986 (last visited August 26, 2015).
"HOHN v. UNITED STATES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_96_8986.