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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's decision to enjoin the enforcement of federal laws that generally prohibit the direct sale of a handgun by a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL) to a person who is not a resident of the state in which the FFL is located. The court assumed without deciding, that the strict, rather than intermediate standard for scrutiny was applicable. The court held that the in-state sales requirement did not violate the Second Amendment because it was narrowly tailored to assure that an FFL who actually makes a sale of a handgun to someone other than another FFL can reasonably be expected to know and comply with the laws of the state in which the sale occurs. Furthermore, the in-state sales requirement was not unconstitutional as applied to plaintiffs where the rule advanced government interests in the aggregate. The court also held that the in-state sales requirement did not violate the equal protection guarantee in the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment. In this case, the in-state sales requirement did not favor or disfavor residents of any particular state. Instead, it imposed the same restrictions on sellers and purchasers of firearms in each state and the District of Columbia. View "Mance v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400–1482, alleging that the School Board's refusal to include the desired therapy in their children's Individual Education Plan (IEP) reflected its predetermined policy of never including any Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)-based method or strategy in a child's IEP. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment and held that plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the policy because it was not applied to them. The court explained that, although plaintiffs could claim to suffer injury because the School Board did not adopt the specific ABA services they were requesting, such a claim was not a cognizable injury in fact under the procedural prong of Bd. of Educ. of Hendrick Hudson Cent. Sch. Dist. v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 206–07 (1982), because the children's IEPs included an ABA-based service. View "L.M.P. v. School Board of Broward County" on Justia Law

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In this matter, a police officer pulled over a car under the belief that the vehicle was in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-61(a) and -66 because one of the vehicle’s taillights was not working. The trial court determined that the officer was mistaken about the law and granted defendant’s motion to suppress the fruits of the motor vehicle stop. The Appellate Division reversed, finding that the relevant motor vehicle statutes were ambiguous and that, applying the reasoning of the United States Supreme Court in Heien v. North Carolina, 574 U.S. ___ (2014), the officer’s stop of defendant’s car constituted at most an objectively reasonable mistake of law that should be treated in the same manner as a mistake of fact. Accordingly, the panel held that the officer’s mistake of law did not require suppression of the motor vehicle stop. The New Jersey Supreme Court reversed: the Appellate Division erred in concluding that the holding in "Heien" was applicable here. Because the motor vehicle statutes pertinent here were not ambiguous, the Court did not consider the issue in light of Heien. "The officer’s stop of defendant’s motor vehicle was not an objectively reasonable mistake of law that gave rise to constitutional reasonable suspicion; the stop was therefore unconstitutional." View "New Jersey v. Sutherland" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted defendant Alexis Sanchez-Medina of various sexual-assault crimes that involved four separate victims: R.D., D.J., A.M., and A.B. The issue this case presented for the New Jersey Supreme Court's review centered on whether defendant was denied his right to a fair trial on sexual assault charges. The prosecution asked defendant whether he had come to the United States legally. Over an objection, the jury learned that defendant had not. Next, although the allegations related to different incidents that involved four separate victims, the case rested heavily on an identification by a single witness. Despite that, neither party requested a jury charge on eyewitness identification, and the trial court did not instruct the jury on the subject. On appeal, the State acknowledged that the prosecution should not have elicited testimony about defendant’s immigration status. The panel found that defendant was not prejudiced by the testimony in light of the trial court’s limiting instructions. The Appellate Division also found that the trial court should have charged the jury on identification. The panel, though, concluded that the omission did not constitute plain error in light of the strong evidence that corroborated R.D.’s identification, specifically, defendant’s statement. The Supreme Court determined the cumulative effect of both errors denied defendant his right to a fair trial, reversed the conviction, and remanded for further proceedings. View "New Jersey v. Sanchez-Medina" on Justia Law

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This case presented a narrow question regarding the meaning of ORS 162.375(1), which defined the crime of “initiating a false report.” Defendant Robert Branch was convicted of that crime based on evidence that, in response to questions from sheriff’s deputies about a report that defendant left the scene of a traffic collision without exchanging the required driver information, defendant falsely claimed that he left the scene because the other driver had pointed a gun at him. Defendant argued on appeal of his conviction to the Oregon Supreme Court that a person does not “initiat[e] a false report” within the meaning of ORS 162.375(1), if the person lies in response to police questioning “about a report someone else initiated” and, thus, that the evidence was insufficient to permit his conviction under that statute. Although the Supreme Court agreed the legislature did not intend the statute to apply when a person merely responds to police questioning with false information regarding the circumstances of the same crime or emergency situation about which the person is being questioned, defendant’s proposed rule swept too broadly. The Supreme Court concluded the legislature intended the phrase “initiates a false alarm or report” to reach, at a minimum, the conduct of a person who, during questioning about one crime or emergency situation, falsely alleges new circumstances to which the law enforcement agency is reasonably likely to respond as a separate crime on an emergency basis. View "Oregon v. Branch" on Justia Law

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The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) requires states to permit "overseas voters" to vote by absentee ballot in federal elections, 52 U.S.C. 20302(a)(1). An “overseas voter” resides outside the U.S. and would otherwise be qualified to vote in the last place in which the person was domiciled in the U.S. Illinois law provides that “[a]ny non‐resident civilian citizen, otherwise qualified to vote," may vote by mail in a federal election. "Non‐resident civilian citizens" reside “outside the territorial limits" of the U.S. but previously maintained a residence in Illinois and are not registered to vote in any other state. Former Illinois residents, now residing in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, challenged the laws as violating their equal protection rights and their right to travel protected by the Due Process Clause. The territories where the plaintiffs reside are considered part of the U.S. under the statutes, while other territories are not. The district court held that there was a rational basis for the inclusion of some territories but not others in the definition. The Seventh Circuit affirmed with respect to the Illinois statute but concluded that plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the UOCAVA, which does not prevent Illinois from providing the plaintiffs absentee ballots and does not cause their injury. The plaintiffs are not entitled to ballots under state law. View "Segovia v. United States" on Justia Law

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Notwithstanding Garrett Ray’s appointed appellate counsel filing a “Lindsey” brief, certifying she had thoroughly examined the record and found no arguable issues supporting Ray’s appeal, he filed a pro se brief, arguing crack cocaine found in a cigarette pack he tried to discard when approached by officers was unlawfully obtained. He also insisted the State violated his constitutional right to confront an informant who provided information to narcotics officers, leading to his drug arrest. The Mississippi Supreme Court disagreed with both of Ray’s assertions: (1) Ray abandoned the cocaine by throwing it out of his vehicle’s window, thus, the drugs were not seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment; and (2) the informant did not testify and was not an eyewitness to or a participant in Ray’s drug possession, nor were the informant’s statements used against Ray, so the State was not obligated to disclose his or her identity, and there was no Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause violation. Accordingly, the Court affirmed Ray’s conviction. View "Ray v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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The State of New Mexico appealed the suppression of two statements made by sixteen-year-old Filemon V. Filemon made the first statement to his probation officers. The New Mexico Supreme Court held that, absent a valid waiver, Section 32A-2-14(C) of the Delinquency Act of the Children’s Code precluded the admission of Filemon’s statement to his probation officers while in investigatory detention. The Court affirmed the district court’s order suppressing the use of the statement in a subsequent prosecution. The second contested statement was elicited by police officers at the Silver City Police Department. Filemon was at this point in custody, and entitled to be warned of his Miranda rights. At issue was whether the midstream Miranda warnings were sufficient to inform Filemon of his rights. The Supreme Court concluded the warnings were insufficient under Missouri v. Seibert, 542 U.S. 600 (2004). Because the statement was elicited in clear violation of the Fifth Amendment and Section 32A-2- 19 14, the district court’s suppression of the statement was affirmed. View "New Mexico v. Filemon V." on Justia Law

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The State of Idaho appealed a district court decision suppressing evidence found during a search of Brody Jaskowski’s pickup. Relying on Idaho v. Turek, 250 P.3d 796 (Ct. App. 2011), the district court held that Jaskowski’s probation agreement required that his probation officer request that Jaskowski submit to a search. The district court found that the probation officer did not make such a request of Jaskowski before searching his vehicle. Therefore, the district court suppressed evidence discovered in the course of the search. Finding no reversible error in that district court decision, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed it. View "Idaho v. Jaskowski" on Justia Law

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The Commonwealth charged Appellee Alwasi Yong with a number of drug and firearms offenses including possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance (PWID), firearms not to be carried without a license, persons not to possess a firearm, and criminal conspiracy to commit PWID. Yong filed an omnibus pretrial motion in which he sought the suppression of physical evidence resulting from his seizure and arrest. Specifically, Yong argued his mere presence at the subject residence of the search warrant was insufficient to justify a protective pat-down frisk. Yong further argued police lacked probable cause to arrest him. The trial court held a suppression hearing at which an investigating officer testified to the three-day surveillance of the property and the execution of the search warrant. The Commonwealth did not introduce the search warrant into evidence. The specific issue presented in this case for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s review was whether an investigating officer’s knowledge of facts sufficient to create probable cause to arrest could be imputed to a second officer, who arrests the suspect, when the two officers are working as a team, but there was no evidence the investigating officer with probable cause directed the arresting officer to act. Under the version of the “collective knowledge” doctrine the Supreme Court adopted in this case, it concluded Yong’s arrest was constitutional. Thus, the Court reversed the judgment of the Superior Court. View "Pennsylvania v. Yong" on Justia Law