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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 action, alleging violation of her constitutional rights when defendants conducted increasingly instrusive body searches. The court held that plaintiff's substantive due process claims were not cognizable with her Fourth Amendment allegations; doctors and nurses were entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff's claim that they violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by detaining her in order to conduct x-ray, pelvic, and rectal exams; because plaintiff did not demonstrate a clearly established right, it follows that her claims for deliberate indifference against the District also failed; the district court did not err by dismissing plaintiff's intentional torts claim against Doctor Solomin; and the district court did not err by declining to grant plaintiff's discovery requests because her claims could not overcome the clearly-established prong of the qualified immunity defense. View "Bustillos v. El Paso County Hospital District" on Justia Law

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A second-in-time collateral claim based on a newly revealed actionable Brady violation is not second-or-successive for purposes of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Consequently, such a claim is cognizable, regardless of whether it meets AEDPA's second-or-successive gatekeeping criteria. The Eleventh Circuit urged the district court to rehear this case en banc in order to reevaluate the framework in Tompkins v. Secretary, Department of Corrections, 557 F.3d 1257 (11th Cir. 2009). The court in Tompkins held that a second-in-time collateral motion based on a newly revealed Brady violation is not cognizable if it does not satisfy one of AEDPA's gatekeeping criteria for second-or-successive motions. The court explained that Tompkins was indistinguishable from the facts and law in this case, but Tompkins was fatally flawed and the rule established in Tompkins eliminated the sole fair opportunity for petitioners to obtain relief. Because the court was bound by Tompkins, the court held that petitioner's 2011 motion was second or successive under 28 U.S.C. 2255(h). View "Scott v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of habeas relief to a petitioner that was convicted of aggravated rape of a child under the age of thirteen. The court held that clearly established Supreme Court precedent demanded proof that the prosecution made knowing use of perjured testimony to establish a constitutional violation. In this case, the district court found no evidence to suggest that the State, or anyone else, knew that the victim was offering false testimony at trial. Therefore, the Louisiana Supreme Court decision denying relief was neither contrary to, nor involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Supreme Court precedent. View "Pierre v. Vannoy" on Justia Law

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Ariz. Rev. Stat. 15-108(A), which makes it unlawful for a person, including a qualified Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) cardholder, to possess or use marijuana on the campus of any public university, college, community college or postsecondary educational institution, violates Arizona’s Voter Protection Act (VPA) with respect to AMMA-compliant marijuana possession or use. Defendant, an AMMA cardholder, was convicted ofpossessing marijuana in his dormitory on the campus of Arizona State University. The Supreme Court vacated the conviction, holding (1) section 15-108(A) is unconstitutional under the VPA because the statute amends the AMMA by re-criminalizing AMMA cardholders’ marijuana possession on public college and university campuses; and (2) therefore, the statute is unconstitutional as applied to Defendant. View "State v. Maestas" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, J.N., 17 years old at the time of the alleged offenses, was charged with murder. The evidence presented at the hearing in juvenile court established he did not kill anyone. The murder was committed while J.N. and two other minors, including the killer, were tagging (making graffiti) in a rival gang’s claimed territory. The killing occurred when the three minors were surprised by an adult rival gang member. The rival approached S.C., who pulled out a gun to scare the man. Undeterred, the man grabbed the gun in S.C.’s hand and a struggle ensued. Shots were fired as they wrestled over the gun. J.N. and the other minor stood frozen nearby. After the passage of Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, the superior court suspended criminal proceedings and certified J.N. to the juvenile court to determine whether he should be treated in the juvenile court system or prosecuted as an adult. The juvenile court determined J.N. was not suitable for treatment in the juvenile court. J.N. filed a petition for a writ of mandate/prohibition, arguing the court abused its discretion in applying Welfare and Institutions Code section 707. The Court of Appeal determined a trial court must consider five statutory factors in making its decision whether the minor should be tried as an adult. Relevant here were two : (1) the circumstances and gravity of the charged offense; and (2) whether the minor could be rehabilitated prior to the expiration of the juvenile court’s jurisdiction. The Court of Appeal found the juvenile court’s determination J.N. was not suitable for treatment in the juvenile court was not supported by substantial evidence and was, therefore, an abuse of discretion. View "J.N. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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After Peter Balov was arrested for suspected drunk driving, the arresting officer advised Balov "that per California law he was required to submit to a chemical test, either a breath or a blood test." Balov did not object and chose a blood test, which showed his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit. Balov was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence. Before trial, Balov moved to suppress the results of the blood test, arguing primarily that his consent to the test was coerced. The court denied the motion, the appellate division affirmed. Balov brought the same argument to the Court of Appeal, which found no error in the lower court's judgment, and affirmed. View "California v. Balov" on Justia Law

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Appellant Jose Oliva was charged by information with DWI. The information contained two paragraphs: the first alleged the commission of the current DWI, and the second alleged a prior DWI conviction. The focus of the guilt stage of trial was solely on the first paragraph. The prior-conviction allegation was not read to the jury at the guilt stage, no evidence of the prior conviction was offered at the guilt stage, and there was no mention of a prior conviction in the guilt-stage jury instructions. Appellant was found guilty. At the punishment stage, the State read the prior-conviction allegation to the jury and introduced evidence of a prior DWI conviction. The jury found the prior-conviction allegation to be true and assessed punishment at 180 days’ confinement. The judgment labeled Appellant’s current conviction as a “DWI 2ND” and the degree of offense as a “Class A Misdemeanor.” The court of appeals held that the existence of a prior conviction was an element of the offense of “Class A misdemeanor DWI.” The court reasoned that a fact that elevates the degree of an offense is necessarily an element of the offense and that Penal Code Section 49.09 lacked the “shall be punished” language present in other statutes containing punishment enhancements. Because no evidence of a prior conviction was introduced at the guilt stage of trial, the court of appeals held that the evidence was legally insufficient to support the prior-conviction allegation. Consequently, the court of appeals reversed and remanded the case to the trial court with instructions to reform the judgment to reflect a conviction for Class B misdemeanor DWI and to conduct a new punishment hearing. Under Penal Code section 49.09(b), the existence of two prior convictions for DWI elevated a third DWI from a Class B misdemeanor to a third degree felony. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals addressed the status of section 49.09(a), which provided that the existence of a single prior conviction elevated a second DWI offense from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor. The Court held in this case that, unlike the existence of two prior convictions for felony DWI, the existence of a single prior conviction for misdemeanor DWI was a punishment issue; the litigation of the prior-conviction allegation at the punishment stage of trial was proper. The Court reversed the court of appeals and affirmed the judgment of the trial court. View "Oliva v. Texas" on Justia Law

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Jerome Buckson and Tiffany Foggie lived together in Foggie's apartment until January 2006. At approximately three o'clock in the morning on Monday, January 30, 2006, Buckson entered the apartment through a kitchen window, and proceeded up the stairs to Foggie's bedroom. The door to the bedroom was closed and locked. Foggie and Buckson had been yelling to one another from the time he was outside, and Foggie told Buckson to leave. Instead, he forced the door open to find another man in the room. After a brief struggle, Foggie was shot. Buckson fled the apartment and called 911. He told the 911 operator the man shot at him, and that he heard other shots as he fled. He later learned Foggie was dead from a gunshot wound. The State charged Buckson with murder and first degree burglary. The jury found Buckson not guilty of murder. As to the burglary, the State presented evidence that Buckson no longer lived in the apartment on the night Foggie died, and Buckson's trial counsel presented evidence that he did. The jury found Buckson guilty of first degree burglary. The trial court sentenced him to twenty years in prison. The court of appeals affirmed. The post-conviction relief (PCR) court granted Buckson relief and ordered a new trial. The State appealed, arguing no probative evidence supported the findings of the PCR court. The court of appeals reversed the PCR court. The South Carolina Supreme Court, however, reversed the court of appeals. At his PCR trial, Buckson presented the testimony of five witnesses he claimed trial counsel should have called at the criminal trial. However, some of the testimony was new and was not presented to the jury. Based on this testimony, the PCR court found trial counsel's failure to call the PCR witnesses at the criminal trial was unreasonable. Counsel articulated specific reasons he did not call the witnesses. The State used the words "strategy" and "strategic decisions" in isolated places in its brief to the court of appeals, but the Supreme Court found those issues should have been raised in the Statement of Issues on Appeal. "While we seek to be flexible interpreting issue statements, ... no point will be considered which is not set forth in the statement of the issues on appeal." In addition, the State's arguments in the body of the brief related to the sufficiency of the evidence, not strategy, and the State did not cite any legal authority on the issue of strategy. View "Buckson v. South Carolina" on Justia Law

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Appellant Stephanie Irene Greene appeals her convictions and sentences for homicide by child abuse, involuntary manslaughter, and unlawful conduct toward a child for the death of her infant daughter, Alexis. Appellant was Alexis's mother; she was Alexis's caretaker during her brief life. Alexis died from morphine poisoning when she was forty-six days old. Appellant, a former nurse, was addicted to many drugs. The State contended that Appellant's morphine addiction (as well as dependence on other drugs) caused Alexis's drug poisoning through breastfeeding. The jury convicted Appellant on all charges. Appellant was sentenced to prison for twenty years for homicide by child abuse, five years concurrent for involuntary manslaughter, and five years concurrent for unlawful conduct toward a child. The South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed the homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct toward a child convictions and sentences, but vacated the involuntary manslaughter conviction and sentence. With respect to the involuntary manslaughter charge, the Court found nothing in South Carolina's homicide statutes or law that reflected a legislative intent to deviate from the overwhelmingly prevailing view that the homicide of one person by one defendant is limited to one homicide punishment - one homicide, one homicide punishment. View "South Carolina v. Greene" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Darryl Frierson pled guilty to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, and armed robbery for his role in masterminding a $9.8 million heist from an armored truck. He was sentenced to an aggregate term of thirty-five years in prison. He applied for post-conviction relief (PCR), asserting he would not have pled guilty but instead would have proceeded to trial had his plea counsel adequately informed him of the possibility to suppress evidence gathered from law enforcement's warrantless placement of a mobile tracking device on his vehicle. The PCR court denied relief, and the court of appeals affirmed. The South Carolina Supreme Court determined the appellate court erred in its application of the standard of review, but corretly deferred to the OCR court's findings. Therefore, the Supreme Court affirmed as modified and took the opportunity to clarify the correct standard to determine prejudice when a defendant seeks PCR after pleading guilty. View "Frierson v. South Carolina" on Justia Law