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After deputies shot and killed David Hensley outside of his home, plaintiffs filed suit against the deputies in their individual and official capacities under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and North Carolina law. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of summary judgment to the deputies based on qualified immunity and state defenses. The court held that a jury could conclude that Hensley never raised his gun, never threatened the deputies, and never received a warning command. Under these circumstances, the deputies were not in any immediate danger and were not entitled to shoot Hensley. Therefore, the deputies were not entitled to qualified immunity. In regard to plaintiffs' state law claims, the district court correctly concluded that plaintiffs' assault claim could proceed as a matter of law. Furthermore, the deputies were not entitled to public official immunity under North Carolina law on plaintiffs' negligent infliction of emotional distress claim because they acted contrary to their duty to use deadly force only when reasonably necessary. View "Hensley v. Price" on Justia Law

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After the Governor, on May 30, 2017, vetoed line-item appropriations to the Legislature for its biennial budget, the Legislature commenced this action arguing that the line-item veto power cannot be used over the appropriations to itself without violating the Separation of Powers clause. The Governor argued in response that the line-item veto power is expressly conferred on the Executive under Minn. Const. IV, 23. The district court agreed with the Legislature, concluding that the line-item vetoes were unconstitutional under Minn. Const. art. III. The Supreme Court reversed in part and vacated and remanded in part, holding (1) the line-item vetoes did not violate article IV, section 23; (2) the line-item vetoes did not violate Article III by effectively abolishing the Legislature; and (3) this court declined to decide whether those vetoes nonetheless violated Article III as unconstitutionally coercive because the parties failed to resolve their dispute throughout the legislative process contemplated by the Constitution. View "Ninetieth Minnesota State Senate v. Dayton" on Justia Law

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Defendant Shawn Young was convicted by jury of sexually abusing his two daughters, A. and H., as well as their friend, M., who lived next door. The trial court sentenced defendant to serve an aggregate determinate prison term of 18 years, plus a consecutive indeterminate term of 85 years to life. On appeal, defendant contended: (1) the Court of Appeal had to reverse the judgment because the trial court lacked good cause to excuse one of the sitting jurors (Juror No. 4) and doing so in the absence of both defendant and his assigned trial counsel violated defendant’s constitutional rights; (2) defendant’s convictions for Counts 3 and 6 had to be reversed for insufficient evidence; (3) defendant’s Count 6 conviction had to be vacated because Penal Code section 288.5 (c), mandated charges of continuous sexual abuse and specific sexual offenses, pertaining to the same victim over the same period of time, be charged in the alternative; (4) the trial court prejudicially erred and violated defendant’s constitutional rights by allowing two prosecution witnesses to testify to their opinion that the complaining witnesses were credible; (5) defendant’s trial counsel provided constitutionally deficient assistance by failing to object to certain assertions of prosecutorial misconduct; and (6) the trial court prejudicially erred by failing to instruct the jury on attempted sexual penetration as a lesser included offense to Count 7. The Court concluded the trial court did not have good cause to excuse Juror No. 4. Furthermore, the Court concluded doing so outside defendant’s presence and while he was represented by an attorney who was standing in for defendant’s temporarily ill trial counsel, and who was told she was appearing to agree to a continuance on defendant’s behalf, violated defendant’s federal constitutional rights. Because the Court could not conclude this error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, it reversed the judgment. This conclusion made it unnecessary to address defendant’s remaining claims except those challenging the sufficiency of the evidence. As to those, we conclude sufficient substantial evidence supports defendant’s conviction in Count 3, not so with respect to Count 6. The Court reversed the judgment on that count for insufficient evidence. View "California v. Young" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants in an action alleging excessive force against Daniel Hammett. Hammett was shot and killed by an officer in a confrontation during the course of executing a warrant. The court held that plaintiff failed to produce evidence that suggested the "split-second judgments" of officers violated the Fourth Amendment as they responded to the "tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving" events of the day. In this case, the actions of Defendant Horsley and Whitener were objectively reasonable and Defendant Mayfield was entitled to summary judgment because his bullet did not strike Hammett. View "Hammett v. Paulding County, Georgia" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to the provision in Ariz. Rev. Stat. 36-2901.08(A) that the director of Arizona’s indigent health care program, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), “shall establish, administer and collect an assessment” from Arizona hospitals (the hospital assessment). The legislature added this provision to fund the costs remaining after federal monies to expand coverage under AHCCCS, as provided for in H.B. 2010, which the legislature enacted in 2013 by a simple majority vote. The Supreme Court held that the hospital assessment is not subject to Ariz. Const. art. IX, 22, which generally requires that acts providing for a net increase in state revenues be approved by a two-thirds vote in each house of the legislature, because the exception set forth in Ariz. Const. art. IX, 22(C)(2) that the above requirement does not apply to statutorily authorized assessments that “are not prescribed by formula, amount or limit, and are set by a state officer or agency” applied in this case. View "Biggs v. Betlach" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s conviction for aggravated assault entered after a jury trial. The district court sentence Appellant to life in prison. The Supreme Court held (1) the prosecutor’s failure to comply with the court’s discovery order constituted misconduct; (2) the district court abused its discretion in denying Appellant’s motion to restrict witness testimony; (3) the prosecutor committed misconduct during closing argument; (4) Appellant was denied due process of law because he was required to wear a leg brace in the presence of the jury; and (5) because of the cumulative effect of these errors, Appellant was denied a fair trial. View "Black v. State" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the District, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-200e-17. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment regarding plaintiff's retaliation claims relating to actions taken prior to October 2007, holding that the district court correctly found not only that he never responded to this portion of the District's motion for summary judgment but also that there was no evidence in the record that he filed any charge of discrimination that would have rendered the claims timely. The court also affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the District on plaintiff's remaining retaliation claims arising out of events occurring after October 2007, holding that a reasonable jury could not infer from the proffered evidence that the challenged employment actions might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination. View "Durant v. District of Columbia Government" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the district court’s order denying Defendant’s second plea in bar asserting a double jeopardy violation. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of attempted first degree sexual assault. The Supreme Court reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial. On remand, the State filed an amended information again charging Defendant with attempted first degree sexual assault, alleging, for the first time, that the victim was mentally or physically incapable of consenting. The district court denied Defendant’s plea in bar. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, concluding that capacity to consent could not be relitigated as to the attempted first degree sexual assault charge. On remand, the State filed a second amended information alleging only that Defendant attempted to subject the victim to penile penetration without her consent. After Defendant filed a motion in limine seeking to prohibit testimony concerning capacity to consent and the court overruled the motion, Defendant filed a second plea in bar. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the second amended information did not place Defendant at risk of double jeopardy, and therefore, the district court was correct in denying his plea in bar. View "State v. Lavalleur" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. The court held (1) the search warrant that authorized police to search for and seize any and all firearms in Defendant’s residence was constitutional because it was sufficiently particular to enable police to know what times they were authorized to search for and seize; and (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting a recording of a telephone conversation that Defendant made to his ex-girlfriend from jail because the risk of unfair prejudice did not substantially outweigh the probative value of those statements. View "State v. Baker" on Justia Law

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Police officer trainee Cornell, off-duty and in street clothes, was running in Golden Gate Park. Uniformed patrol officers spotted him and grew suspicious because the area is known for illicit drug activity. Cornell claims he was unaware of the officers when he heard, “I will shoot you,” and looked behind him to see a dark figure pointing a gun. He darted away, ultimately finding a police officer, who ordered him to the ground. He was arrested at gunpoint and searched, taken in handcuffs to a station, and eventually to a hospital for a drug test, which was negative. Officers searched the areas where he was known to have been, and his truck. After nearly six hours in custody, Cornell was released with a citation for evading arrest. Cornell was never prosecuted but lost his job. Cornell sued. The court determined that Cornell was arrested without probable cause. A jury awarded Cornell $575,242 for tortious interference with economic advantage, and violation of Civil Code section 52.1; the court added $2,027,612.75 in attorney’s fees and costs on the Section 52.1 claim. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting arguments that the jury’s findings did not support the probable cause determination; the court should have declared a mistrial when the jury deadlocked on one question on the special verdict form; the court failed to address an argument that, under Penal Code 847(b), the defendants were immune from false arrest claims; and even if the tort verdict is upheld, the Section 52.1 verdict and awards were based on insufficient evidence. View "Cornell v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law