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The Fifth Circuit granted a motion for stay pending appeal brought by fourteen judges in a class action against Harris County and its officials under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the County's system of setting bail for indigent misdemeanor arrestees violates Texas statutory and constitutional law and the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court entered a stay of Sections 7, 8, 9, and 16 pending plenary resolution of this appeal by a merits panel. In this case, the expansive injunction entered on remand repeated the mistake of the original injunction because it amounted to the outright elimination of secured bail for indigent misdemeanor arrestees. View "O'Donnell v. Harris County" on Justia Law

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Emerson, a Cook County Department of Corrections corrections officer, alleged that County employees unlawfully discriminated against her during her “tumultuous” tenure at a County detention facility. During that time, she twice filed formal personnel grievances. She claims that she was subsequently the victim of retaliation. She was on paid medical leave from September 2012 until March 2014, and she has remained on unpaid leave ever since. While her claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, were pending, Emerson took to Facebook to threaten potential witnesses with legal action if they testified against her. The district judge sanctioned Emerson ($17,000) for the threat and eventually entered summary judgment for the defendants. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, reasoning that Emerson’s grievance regarding scheduling did not qualify as protected activity under Title VII because it did not allege that Grochowski (who made the schedule) targeted her because of her race, sex, or other protected characteristic. Emerson had no proof that Grochowski ever knew of her earlier grievance, so she cannot establish that they harbored the retaliatory motive necessary for a Title VII retaliation claim. View "Emerson v. Dart" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Peyman Heidary (Heidary) allegedly owned and oversaw a network of medical clinics to generate fraudulent billings to workers’ compensation and insurance carriers. A non-attorney, he also allegedly controlled the day-to-day operations of various law firms, including California Injury Lawyers (collectively, the law firm.). He allegedly controlled or directed hiring and firing, legal decision making, and income flow to and from the law firm. Codefendants (and petitioners in a related writ case discussed below) Abramowitz, a lawyer, and Solis allegedly assisted Heidary in these operations. Under the alleged fraud scheme, injured workers appeared at the law firm, which would fill out boilerplate paperwork and, on Heidary’s order, direct the workers to one of his clinics to begin treatment. Each provider would fill out a “ ‘super bill,’ ” describing services rendered, which would then go to support staff to review compliance with Heidary’s orders. They would forward the superbill to a medical billing company. Those companies would generate a form to start the claim process. The billing companies contracted with each provider to bill for services, on Heidary’s order, including sometimes by forgery. Payment came from two sources: workers’ compensation insurers and third-party accounts-receivable buyers. The defendants were indicted by grand jury on conspiracy, making false or fraudulent claims for payment of health care benefits, knowingly making false and fraudulent material representations for payment of workers' compensation, money laundering, forgery, and unlicensed practice of medicine. In Petitioner challenged challenges the trial court’s denial of his motion to set aside the indictment pursuant to Penal Code section 995(a)(1)(B). Finding no reason to disturb the indictment, the Court of Appeal denied the petition. View "Heidary v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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In 2004, appellant Jessie Mercer was convicted of the kidnapping of Richard Love and his wife, Parchando, as well as armed robbery and two counts of aggravated assault. On appeal, appellant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction for kidnapping Mr. Love, but not for kidnapping Mrs. Love. Specifically, he contended that the State failed to prove the element of asportation, but the Court of Appeals rejected that. In 2011, appellant filed a habeas corpus petition alleging that the evidence was insufficient to support either of his kidnapping convictions under the new standard for determining asportation set forth in Garza v. Georgia, 670 SE2d 73 (2008). In 2016, the habeas court denied the petition. The Georgia Supreme Court subsequently granted appellant’s application for a certificate of probable cause to appeal and reversed the habeas court’s judgment, finding that there was insufficient evidence of asportation to support appellant's convictions for kidnapping Mr. and Mrs. Love. View "Mercer v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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In December 2003, Chicago detectives separately questioned Johnson about a shooting death. Johnson admitted that he drove the shooter to the scene but claimed not to know anything about the plan. Johnson was charged with murder under an accountability theory. Johnson unsuccessfully moved to suppress his statements based on noncompliance with Miranda. At a 2007 trial, the detectives testified about Johnson’s statements. The jury found him guilty. The Illinois Appellate Court reversed in 2010. At a second trial in 2012, the detectives repeated their testimony. Johnson was convicted. The appellate court reversed in 2014, citing insufficient evidence. In 2015, Johnson sued the detectives under 42 U.S.C. 1983 alleging that they violated his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by interrogating him without Miranda warnings and giving testimony about his unwarned statements. The district court found the claims untimely because Johnson filed suit more than two years after his statements were introduced at trial. The Seventh Circuit reversed in part. Precedent (Heck) blocks a section 1983 claim that necessarily implies the invalidity of a criminal conviction unless the plaintiff can show that the conviction has been invalidated; if a claim is Heck-barred, accrual is deferred until the conviction is overturned. Claims of this kind necessarily imply the invalidity of the convictions, so Heck’s deferred accrual rule applies. The first conviction was reversed in 2010, so those claims are untimely. Claims relating to the second trial are timely. View "Johnson v. Winstead" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit for violation of their First Amendment rights, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief, after they took photographs of activities at U.S. ports of entry on the United States–Mexico border, they were both stopped and searched by officers of the CBP, and their photos were destroyed. The district court dismissed plaintiffs' claims. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court erred by applying the law of the case doctrine on a motion to dismiss an amended complaint. On the merits, the panel held that the First Amendment protected the right to photograph and record matters of public interest, and whether a place was "public" depended on the nature of the location; the district court's holding that the CBP policies were the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest were conclusory and insufficient; and it was the government's burden to prove that the specific restrictions were the least restrictive means available. The panel held that plaintiffs have adequately pleaded their claims and that further factual development was required before the district court could determine what restrictions, if any, the government may impose in these public, outdoors areas where the photos were taken. View "Askins v. USDHS" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order declining to extend a Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), remedy to an immigrant pursuing lawful permanent resident status. In this case, an ICE Assistant Chief Counsel representing the government intentionally forged and submitted an ostensible government document in an immigration proceeding, which had the effect of barring plaintiff from obtaining lawful permanent resident status, a form of relief to which he was otherwise lawfully entitled. The panel held that a Bivens remedy was available on these narrow and egregious facts because none of the special factors outlined in Ziglar v. Abbasi, 137 S. Ct. 1843, 1857 (2017), and other Supreme Court precedent applied. The panel also held that the ICE Assistant Chief Counsel was not entitled to qualified immunity because qualified immunity could not shield an officer from suit when he intentionally submits a forged document in an immigration proceeding in clear violation of 8 U.S.C. 1357(b). View "Lanuza v. Love" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs challenged Michigan’s statutory scheme for resentencing individuals who were convicted of first-degree murder and received mandatory sentences of life without parole for acts they committed as children. Plaintiff’s 2016 amended complaint (SAC) addressed the Supreme Court’s decisions in Miller v. Alabama (2012), and Montgomery v. Louisiana, (2016), and Michigan’s 2014 amendments to its juvenile sentencing scheme. The SAC included allegations that Michigan’s policies and procedures governing parole deny Plaintiffs a meaningful opportunity for release in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments (Count IV); that deprivation of Plaintiffs’ good time and disciplinary credits in Section 769.25a(6) violates the Ex Post Facto Clause (Count V); and Defendants have failed to provide the Plaintiffs with access to programming, education, training, and rehabilitation opportunities in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments (Count VI). The Sixth Circuit reversed the dismissal of Counts IV, V, and VI. On remand, the district court granted Plaintiffs summary judgment on Count V and class certification, and ordered permanent injunctive relief that prohibited Defendants from enforcing or applying the credit elimination. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, finding that Mich. Comp. Laws 769.25a(4)(c), which was enacted in 2014 and eliminates credits for individuals who were sentenced to mandatory life without parole for juvenile first-degree murder convictions, unconstitutional. View "Hill v. Snyder" on Justia Law

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After Maslonka robbed two banks to support his drug habit, he pleaded guilty in Michigan state court to armed robbery as a third habitual offender. During his plea-negotiation process, Maslonka began to cooperate with federal authorities in a separate federal investigation. Maslonka did not cooperate to the full satisfaction of the federal authorities. The state prosecutor withdrew the favorable plea offer. Maslonka brought a habeas corpus petition. The Sixth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of habeas relief. Even assuming Maslonka’s attorney was constitutionally deficient, Maslonka has not shown that this deficiency prejudiced him. Maslonka has not shown a reasonable probability that his counsel could have persuaded the state prosecutor not to cancel Maslonka’s plea. The court noted that the Supreme Court has not fully answered the “difficult question” of “the duty and responsibilities of defense counsel in the plea bargaining process” and rejected an argument that a counsel’s mere physical absence from a critical stage of a proceeding, based on the counsel’s own failure to be present rather than any denial by the state, can constitute a constructive denial of counsel under Supreme Court precedent. View "Maslonka v. Hoffner" on Justia Law

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Heishman was high on amphetamines and running naked in the street. Indianapolis police tried to subdue him. A paramedic administered a sedative to Heishman so he could be moved to an ambulance to be taken to a hospital. Soon, Heishman’s heart and breathing stopped. Despite efforts to revive him, he died days later. Heishman’s estate sued, asserting federal Fourth Amendment claims and state-law tort claims. The district court denied the paramedic qualified immunity on the excessive force claim and allowed all but one of the state-law claims to proceed against the paramedic and the hospital without requiring the plaintiff to comply with the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act. On interlocutory appeal, the Seventh Circuit reversed as to both issues. Case law does not clearly establish that a paramedic can violate a patient-arrestee’s Fourth Amendment rights by exercising medical judgment to administer a sedative in a medical emergency. All of the state-law claims are subject to the substantive terms of Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act, including damage caps and the requirement to submit the claim to a medical review panel before suit is filed. The undisputed facts show that the paramedic was exercising medical judgment in dealing with a patient in a medical emergency. View "Thompson v. Cope" on Justia Law