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Lewis, a Wisconsin prisoner, claimed in his suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, that staff at the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility violated the Eighth Amendment by delaying medical attention for a painful back condition and then using excessive force when eventually taking him to the hospital. Lewis also claimed that a nurse and a physician committed malpractice under state law. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants. The Seventh Circuit vacated, noting a failure to preserve videotaped evidence showing Lewis in his cell; rejecting a claim of qualified immunity; and stating that a jury reasonably could find that two of the defendants, a nurse and the security supervisor were deliberately indifferent to Lewis’s serious medical need and unnecessarily prolonged his pain. View "Lewis v. McLean" on Justia Law

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The FBI used malware to identify and find viewers of child pornography to access illicit websites. The FBI maintained the website in the Eastern District of Virginia, but users were spread out all over the country. Finding those users could prove difficult because of geographic constraints on the FBI’s ability to obtain a warrant. Notwithstanding these constraints, the FBI obtained a warrant that led to the discovery of hundreds of viewers of child pornography. One was the defendant, who faced prosecution in the District of Colorado. In the subsequent prosecution, the district court held that the warrant was invalid and suppressed evidence resulting from the search. The Tenth Circuit reversed this ruling, finding that even when a search warrant is invalid, the resulting evidence should not be suppressed if the executing agents could reasonably rely on the warrant. Here, the Court assumed for the sake of argument that the warrant was invalid. But in the Court's view, the executing agents acted in an objectively reasonable manner. Thus, the evidence should not have been suppressed. View "United States v. Workman" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted Jonathan Kearn of federal child pornography charges arising from pictures he took of his four-and-a-half year old daughter and shared on the internet. He was sentenced to a lengthy prison term followed by five years of supervised release. Kearn contends the district court committed various errors at trial and sentencing. Finding no reversible errors, the Tenth Circuit affirmed Kearn's conviction. View "United States v. Kearn" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of premeditated first-degree murder and sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for twenty-five years. The court held (1) the State presented sufficient evidence from which a rational jury could find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Defendant committed premeditated first-degree murder; (2) the prosecutor did not commit reversible error during closing argument; and (3) the district court did not violate Defendant’s right to present a defense by excluding photographs. View "State v. Banks" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for raping a fourteen-year-old boy and two thirteen-year-old boys. The court held (1) the trial judge did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress incriminating statements she made to the police because, based on the totality of the circumstances, Defendant’s confession was voluntary; (2) the trial court’s decision not to further redact the video recording of Defendant’s incriminating statements that was shown at trial was within the range of reasonable alternatives; (3) although two of the prosecutor’s closing statements during closing argument were improper, the statements were not prejudicial; and (4) the trial judge’s lack of authority to relieve Defendant from registering as a sex offender under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 6, 178E(f) did not constitute a due process violation as applied to Defendant. View "Commonwealth v. Hammond" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence seized during the detention and search of a vehicle in which she was a passenger, as well as the sentence imposed for Defendant’s possession of a controlled substance conviction. In regard to her motion to suppress, Defendant argued that the initial encounter with the lead law enforcement officer amounted to a seizure when she was detained after the officer determined that the wanted individual was not in the vehicle and that the investigatory stop was not supported by reasonable suspicion. The Supreme Court held (1) the lead officer had reasonable suspicion of illegal activity to justify the detention of the vehicle’s passengers after the officer determined that the wanted individual was not in the vehicle; and (2) the sentence imposed did not constitute an abuse of discretion. View "State v. Rogers" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court that overruled Defendant’s motion for postconviction relief without an evidentiary hearing. Defendant pled guilty to five counts of first degree murder and five counts of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony. Defendant’s motion for postconviction relief raised numerous claims of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. The Supreme Court held (1) with respect to each of Defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claims, the district court did not err when it concluded that Defendant failed to allege sufficient facts to demonstrate a violation of his constitutional rights and that the record affirmatively showed that Defendant was not entitled to relief; and (2) the district court did not err when it overruled Defendant’s motion for postconviction relief without holding an evidentiary hearing. View "State v. Vela" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of habeas relief based on his claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel at the penalty phase. The court held that counsel's performance in raising and developing petitioner's claim for ineffective assistance of trial counsel at the penalty phase was not deficient. Furthermore, petitioner failed to establish prejudice. View "Wessinger v. Vannoy" on Justia Law

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A taxi driver reported to police he had driven defendant to locations in Marin County. Defendant attempted to pay the $73.53 cab fare with a prepaid debit card, but the charge did not go through. When police searched defendant, they located a prepaid Visa card with defendant’s name and another individual’s name on it. A week later, defendant attempted to purchase dinner. A restaurant employee contacted police because he remembered defendant from an earlier incident when she attempted to purchase food using a stolen credit card. When the police searched defendant’s car, they located several credit cards with numbers removed or altered. Several cards had defendant’s name on them. Defendant pled guilty to two felony counts of access card forgery, misdemeanor petty theft, and a second-degree burglary charge in exchange for dismissal of other counts and other cases. Defendant later sought resentencing, to reduce her felony convictions for access card forgery to misdemeanors under Penal Code 1170.18(a). The trial court denied the petition as to the access card forgery charges, but granted it as to the petty theft conviction. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting defendant’s argument that exempting access card forgery from Proposition 47 relief violated her equal protection rights under the U,S, and California Constitutions. View "People v. Bloomfield" on Justia Law

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The circuit court erred when it restricted Defendant during his criminal trial in deciding whether and when in the course of presenting his defense he should take the stand, in violation of his constitutional privilege against self-incrimination, his constitutional right to the assistance of counsel, and his right to due process of law. Although the trial was anticipated to last up to six days, the State rested its case-in-chief in the early afternoon on the first day of the evidentiary portion of the trial. Over defense counsel’s objection, the circuit court ordered Defendant to take the stand that day or forfeit his right to testify entirely. Consequently, Defendant took the stand and testified before the other witnesses in the defense’s case. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s judgment and remanded the case for a new trial, holding that the circuit court erred and that the error was not subject to harmless error review. View "State v. Loher" on Justia Law