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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the City's motion to dismiss an action filed by Rockville Cars, alleging a violation of its procedural due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment when the City suspended its building permit. The court held that a property right failed to vest in Rockville Cars' building permit when its application contained material misrepresentations. Furthermore, even if Rockville Cars did have a property interest, it failed to take advantage of the sufficient process afforded to it by the state. View "Rockville Cars, LLC v. City of Rockville" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of criminal possession of methamphetamine and other drug offenses after law enforcement found drugs and paraphernalia in Defendant’s pickup truck during a traffic stop, holding that the district court committed reversible error when it curtailed Defendant’s cross-examination of Leslie Hill, the lone passenger in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop. Specifically, the Court held that the district court abused its discretion when it excluded evidence of Hill’s plea agreement with the State and prevented Defendant from fully cross-examining Hill about her plea agreement, and the error prejudiced Defendant and required a new trial. View "State v. Flowers" on Justia Law

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The California Table Grape Commission’s advertisements and related messaging represent government speech, as opposed to private speech, and the Ketchum Act’s (Cal. Food & Agric. Code 65500) scheme providing that the Commission’s activities are funded by assessments on shipments of California table grapes does not violate Plaintiffs’ rights under Cal. Const. art. I, 2. Plaintiffs, five growers and shippers of California table grapes, brought suit arguing that the collection of assessments under the Act to subsidize promotional speech on behalf of California table grapes as a generic category violates their right to free speech under Cal. Const. art. I, 2(a). Plaintiffs claimed specifically that the table grapes they grow and ship are exceptional and that the assessment scheme requires them to sponsor a viewpoint that they disagree with. The Supreme Court held that Plaintiffs failed to advance a viable claim under article I, section 2. Specifically, the Court held that there was sufficient government responsibility for and control over the messaging at issue for the communications to represent government speech that Plaintiffs can be required to subsidize without implicating their article I, section 2 rights. View "Delano Farms Co. v. California Table Grape Commission" on Justia Law

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The Illinois Vehicle Code prohibits anyone with a revoked driver’s license from driving a “motor vehicle.” 625 ILCS 5/6-303(a); such an individual may still drive a “low-speed gas bicycle.” Section 1-14-.15 defines “low-speed gas bicycle” as a “2 or 3-wheeled device with fully operable pedals and a gasoline motor of less than one horsepower, whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 miles per hour.” Plank, charged with driving a motor vehicle with a revoked license, claimed that the definition of “low-speed gas bicycle” was unconstitutionally vague. The Illinois Supreme Court held that the definition of “low-speed gas bicycle” satisfies due process requirements. The statutory language means that a defining characteristic of a low-speed gas bicycle is an engine that is incapable of transporting 170 pounds at 20 miles per hour without help from gravity or pedaling. A bicycle’s motor will either have this capability or not, regardless of the weight of any particular driver. The vagueness doctrine is not implicated every time officers cannot conclusively determine at a glance whether someone has violated a statutory provision. Once someone is charged with violating section 6-303(a), the prosecutor has the burden of proving the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt—including that the bicycle at issue had a strong enough motor to qualify as a “motor vehicle.” View "People v. Plank" on Justia Law

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Defendant Bailey Serpa appealed a superior court order requiring him to register as a sexual offender. On appeal, defendant argued registration as a sexual offender for a conviction of violating RSA 649-B:4 was contrary to the manifest objectives of RSA 632-A:4 and violated constitutional requirements that all penalties be proportional to the offense. Finding no reversible error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed the superior court order. View "New Hampshire v. Serpa" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the superior court judge decision allowing Defendants’ motion to suppress statements made to detectives and pills found in one of the defendant’s vehicles on the grounds that Defendants had been subject to custodial interrogation without, in one case, any Miranda warnings and, in the other case, an inadequate warning. Defendants were two individuals who had been detained in a restaurant parking lot as part of a threshold inquiry into a street-level drug transaction. The grand jury indicted Defendants of drug offenses. The superior court allowed Defendants’ motions to suppress. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding that, applying the factors set out in Commonwealth v. Groome, 435 Mass. 201, 211-212 (2001), to the circumstances of this case, Defendants did not meet their burden of showing that they were in custody when they made the incriminating statements. View "Commonwealth v. Cawthron" on Justia Law

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In this case governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court to terminate Father’s rights to his minor child (Child), holding that Father’s contentions on appeal were unavailing. Specifically, the Court held (1) Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services provided the active efforts required under 25 U.S.C. 1912(d) to prevent the breakup of an Indian family; (2) Father did not establish that the Child was placed in a foster home in violation of the placement preferences set forth in 25 U.S.C. 1915; and (3) Father’s attorney did not provide ineffective assistance of counsel. View "In re A.L.D." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for driving under the influence (DUI), holding that the district court did not err by denying Defendant’s motion to suppress blood test results obtained by a search warrant because Defendant’s due process were not violated. Defendant moved to suppress blood tests obtained pursuant to a telephone search warrant, asserting a violation of due process by the officer’s failure to advise Defendant of his right to an independent blood draw. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, including that the advisory’s reading was impeded by Defendant, there was no fundamental unfairness, and the circumstances fell short of a denial of due process. View "State v. Moore" on Justia Law

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Mont. Code Ann. 39-8-207(8)(b)(i), which extends the exclusivity remedy of the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) from a professional employer organization (PEO) to its client, does not violate Mont. Const. art. II, 16 by depriving an injured worker of full legal redress. PEOs hire employees and assign them to the PEO’s client businesses on an ongoing basis. Defendant entered into a contract with a licensed PEO. The PEO hired Plaintiff and assigned him to Defendant. After Plaintiff suffered an on-the-job injury, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant, alleging that his injuries occurred because of Defendant’s failure to provide a safe workplace. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendant, concluding that Plaintiff’s claim was barred by the exclusivity provision of the WCA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that since both the PEO and Defendant were immediate employers who hired Plaintiff and provided workers’ compensation coverage, they were both entitled to the exclusive remedy of Article II, Section 16. View "Ramsbacher v. Jim Palmer Trucking" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court concluding that the weighted average discount ratio (WADR), codified in Mont. Code Ann. 16-2-101(2)(b)(ii)(B), violated liquor store owners’ (collectively, Storeowners) rights to substantive due process and equal protection. The WADR was effective from 1995 to 2016. The State, Department of Revenue (DOR) sold liquor to certified liquor stores (agency liquor stores) and provided those stores with three discounts, one of which was the WADR. The agency liquor stores sold the liquor to individual retail customers and licensed taverns and bars (licensees). When the agency liquor stores sold to licensees whole or unbroken cars of liquor, known as case lots, section 16-2-201(1) required them to provide a separate discount (case discount). Four liquor store owners certified as a class representing similarly situated liquor store owners filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the WADR. Specifically, Storeowners claimed that the WADR should have fully reimbursed them for the cost of providing the case discount to Licensees. The district court concluded that the WADR was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the WADR did not violate Storeowners’ rights to substantive due process and equal protection and was, rather, a constitutional part of a statutory scheme designed to privatize liquor stores in Montana. View "Kohoutek v. State, Department of Revenue" on Justia Law