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In this case concerning the vacancies created by the mandatory retirements of certain justices, the Supreme Court held that the phrase “within thirty days from the occurrence of a vacancy” in Fla. Const. art. V, 11(c) requires the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) to make its nominations no later than thirty days after the occurrence of a vacancy and does not prohibit the JNC from acting before a vacancy occurs. On October 15, 2018, the Supreme Court issued an order holding that, assuming that Justices Pariente, Lewis, and Quince finish their terms, the vacancies created by the justices’ mandatory retirements would occur outside Governor Scott’s term in office. The Court directed the JNC to submit its nominations by November 10, 2018. The Court then further clarified its holding with this opinion and recognized that there was no impediment to the JNC reopening its application period for the vacancies at issue in this case. The Court denied any additional relief. View "League of Women Voters of Florida v. Scott" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for rehearing en banc; treated the petition for rehearing en banc as a petition for panel rehearing; and granted the petition for panel rehearing. The court withdrew its prior opinion and substituted the following opinion. Three exotic dancers under the age of 21 filed suit challenging Louisiana's amendment of two statutes (Act No. 395) that required entertainers on premises licensed to serve alcohol and whose breasts or buttocks are exposed to view be 21 years of age or older. The district court concluded that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims that the Act was unconstitutionally overbroad and vague, and issued a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the Act. The court vacated the injunction and held that the district court erred in holding that the Act was overbroad, either for the lack of narrow tailoring necessary under United States v. O'Brien, 391 U.S. 367, 376 (1968), or for "substantial overbreadth" under such cases as Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U.S. 601, 612 (1973). Determining that plaintiffs had standing to bring their vagueness claim, the court held that the Act survived a facial challenge for vagueness. The court explained that it was enough that the Act required the full coverage of commonly understood anatomical terms. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Doe v. Marine-Lombard" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed in part and dismissed in part Defendant’s interlocutory appeal from the district court’s denial of her motion for summary judgment arguing that she was immune to Plaintiff’s damage claims, holding that this Court lacked appellate jurisdiction to the extent Defendant challenged the district court’s assessment of the record. Defendant, a police officer, shot Plaintiff as Plaintiff was cutting himself with a knife in the waiting area of a psychiatric center. Plaintiff sued Defendant under 42 U.S.C. 1983, arguing that Defendant violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures. Defendant moved for summary judgment based, in part, on her qualified immunity to federal damage claims arising out of the performance of her official duties as a public employee. The district court denied the motion, concluding that Defendant could not constitutionally shoot Plaintiff unless he posed an immediate threat to herself or others and only after providing some kind of warning, if feasible. Defendant appealed. The First Circuit (1) dismissed the appeal to the extent it challenged the district court’s assessment of the factual record under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; and (2) otherwise affirmed the district court’s denial of summary judgment. View "Begin v. Drouin" on Justia Law

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In this case concerning where taxes on compressors were due, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeals, holding (1) Tex. Tax Code 23.1241 and 23.1242 controlled the taxable situs of the compressors at issue; and (2) Midland County was the taxable situs of the compressors. EXLP Leasing owned and leased out compressor stations used to deliver natural gas into pipelines. In response to a 2012 amendment to the Tax Code, EXLP began paying taxes on the compressors located in Loving County to Midland County. Loving County continued placing the compressors on its appraisal rolls at full market value, asserting that the compressors’ presence within the counties fixed taxable situs there. The appraisal review board sided with the county. The trial court agreed with the county, concluding that sections 23.1241 and 23.1242 were unconstitutional. The court of appeals held (1) the statutes are constitutional, and (2) the compressors’ taxable situs is Loving County. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) sections 23.1241 and 23.1242 control the taxable situs of the compressors; and (2) Midland County is the taxable situs of the compressors. View "Loving County Appraisal District v. EXLP Leasing LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeals, holding that Texas Tax Code 23.1241 and 23.1242 controlled the taxable situs of the compressors at issue in this case and that Midland County, rather than Ward County, was the taxable situs of the compressors. EXLP Leasing owned and leased out compressor stations used to deliver natural gas into pipelines. While some of the compressors were in use in Ward County, EXLP paid taxes on those compressors to Midland County in response to a 2012 amendment to Tax Code sections 23.1241 and 23.1242 that included leased heavy equipment in a statutory formula used to value heavy equipment held by dealers for sale. An appraisal review board agreed with Ward County that the compressors' presence in the county fixed taxable situs there. The trial court concluded (1) sections 23.1241 and 23.1242 are unconstitutional; (2) taxes on the compressors were due to Ward County; and (3) the compressors fell under the challenged statutory framework as “heavy equipment.” The court of appeals concluded that the statues were constitutional but otherwise affirmed. The Supreme Court held (1) the statutes are constitutional; (2) EXLP properly paid taxes on compressors in Midland County; and (3) the compressors met the statutory definition of “heavy equipment.” View "Ward County Appraisal District v. EES Leasing LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief without an evidentiary hearing, holding that Appellant’s postconviction motion failed to state a claim for relief. Appellant was convicted of first degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony in the shooting of a police officer. Appellant later filed an amended motion for postconviction relief, alleging that he was denied the right to a fair trial, ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, and newly discovered evidence. The district court denied the motion, finding that Appellant was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of postconviction relief as to all of Appellant’s assignments of error, holding that Appellant’s claims were without merit. View "State v. Allen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court denying Appellant’s application for postconviction relief (PCR), holding that Appellant’s requested remand for a new hearing was not available and that Appellant’s claim that his postconviction counsel was ineffective must be brought in a separate application for PCR. In his application for PCR Appellant sought to vacate his conviction based on newly discovered evidence. The district court denied the PCR application and rejected Appellant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim. On appeal, Appellant argued that the district court improperly dismissed his PCR application because his postconviction counsel failed to present physical evidence at the PCR hearing to support his claim. Therefore, Appellant asked that his PCR application be remanded to the district court for a new hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that no error occurred, that the request made to remand the case failed, and that Appellant must raise his claim of ineffective assistance of postconviction counsel in a separate application for PCR. View "Goode v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying Defendant’s motion to suppress and convicting Defendant of burglary and possession of burglarious tools, holding that a search warrant issued for the placement and use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking evidence on a motor vehicle, but not executed within five days after the date of issuance under Wis. Stat. 968.15 or timely returned under Wis. Stat. 968.17(1), is not void if the search was otherwise reasonably conducted. At issue on appeal was whether the warrant in this case was governed by Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 968 and whether the warrant complied with the Fourth Amendment to the United State Constitution and Article I, Section 11 of the Wisconsin Constitution’s guarantees against unreasonable searches. The Court held (1) the GPS warrant in this case was not subject to the statutory limitations and requirements of Chapter 968; and (2) the GPS warrant complied with Fourth Amendment principles. View "State v. Pinder" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the employer in an action alleging that the unauthorized review and disclosure of plaintiff's confidential personnel files to support her racial and religious discrimination claims constituted protected activity under Title VII. The court held that, under the opposition clause, unauthorized disclosures of confidential information to third parties are generally unreasonable. In this case, plaintiff's unauthorized review and duplication of confidential personnel files did not constitute protected opposition or participation activity. The court also held that section 704(a) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not protect a violation of valid state law that poses no conflict with Title VII. The court explained that, like in plaintiff's opposition claim, she failed to meet her burden of proving that the sheriff terminated her employment because she engaged in protected activity. View "Netter v. Barnes" on Justia Law

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Following the unexpected death of Defendant Walt Shrum’s common law wife at the couple’s home, Kingman, Kansas police officers “secured” the home, prohibiting Defendant access. Approximately three hours later and without access to his home, Defendant signed a consent to search form permitting an investigator from the Kingman County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) to enter his home for the express purpose of retrieving his deceased wife’s medication in anticipation of an autopsy. While in the home, the investigator saw ammunition in plain view inside an open bedroom closet. After returning to headquarters, the investigator learned Defendant was a convicted felon and recalled seeing the ammunition in the closet. Several hours later, the investigator, based on what he had seen and learned, contacted a federal agent and asked him to obtain a search warrant for Defendant’s home. A federal magistrate judge issued the warrant at 10:00 p.m. A late night search of the home, which local authorities still would not permit Defendant to access, uncovered not only the ammunition but also two loaded firearms and suspected methamphetamine. A grand jury subsequently charged Defendant with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition, and one count of possessing methamphetamine. Following the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress the incriminating evidence used to charge him, Defendant entered a conditional guilty plea to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. After receiving a sentence of time served, Defendant appealed the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress. This appeal presented the Tenth Circuit with two questions: (1) did the initial securing of Defendant’s home constitute an unreasonable seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment?; and if so, (2) did such seizure taint the incriminating evidence ultimately uncovered in the warrant search of his home? The Tenth Circuit answered both questions yes, and reversed. View "United States v. Shrum" on Justia Law