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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a petition for habeas relief challenging a sentencing enhancement for a prior nonjury juvenile conviction and for a gang-related crime. Petitioner argued that the evidence supporting the gang enhancement was constitutionally insufficient under Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (1979), and that the enhancement for his nonjury juvenile conviction violated Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). The panel held that it was objectively unreasonable to conclude that the evidence was sufficient for a reasonable jury to find the robbery was committed "in association with" a gang; but it was not objectively unreasonable to conclude that the evidence was sufficient for a reasonable jury to find the robbery was committed "for the benefit of" a gang. The panel also held that the juvenile conviction claim was procedurally barred, and the sentencing enhancements based on nonjury juvenile convictions did not violate any clearly established federal law as determined by the United States Supreme Court. View "Johnson v. Montgomery" on Justia Law

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Newark Police received a report that the Audi had been carjacked at gunpoint. Three hours later, State Troopers spotted the Audi. Bland was behind the wheel. They activated their police lights., Bland drove recklessly, running red lights and shutting off his headlights, reaching speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. Several officers joined the pursuit. Bland drove the wrong way down a one-way street, colliding with occupied police vehicles, which struck an unoccupied car. The cars became entangled. Officers surrounded the Audi and ordered Bland to surrender, then fired 28 shots, none of which hit Bland. Bland revved the engine and freed the Audi, striking the police car again. He drove over a curb and through a public park, then continued to speed through Newark with his lights off. During the chase, a police car struck an occupied civilian vehicle. Bland eventually drove to an intersection where an unmarked police vehicle rammed the Audi, sending the Audi into scaffolding that surrounded a school. It became entangled. Troopers surrounded the Audi and fired their weapons. Bland denies that the troopers shouted any commands or that he made evasive movements. Bland was shot 16-18 times and suffered a traumatic brain injury, respiratory failure, vision loss, and facial fractures. No officer observed Bland with a weapon. Bland sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983. On interlocutory appeal, the Third Circuit held that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity. Their conduct was within the bounds of Supreme Court decisions regarding the use of lethal force; they did not violate Bland’s clearly established constitutional rights. View "Bland v. City of Newark" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants in an action alleging that defendants took adverse employment action against plaintiff in violation of the First Amendment in retaliation for her giving advice to a co-worker who was being arrested by campus police. The court declined to apply the law of the case doctrine where the district court initially entered an order denying defendants' motion for summary judgment before changing its mind, because plaintiff did not point to any prejudice she suffered by reason of the change of ruling and the court saw no impropriety in the district court's exercise of its discretion to revisit its earlier denial of summary judgment. On the merits, the court held that defendants were protected from both liability and the obligation to defend the case because of qualified immunity. In this case, there was no clearly established law to the effect that plaintiff's speech was on a matter of public concern. View "Colvin v. Keen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that Minnesota’s Legend Drug Tax, Minn. Stat. 295.52(4), applies to a non-resident pharmacy’s delivery of prescription drugs to Minnesota-based patients and doctors and that such application does not violate the Due Process Clause or Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Respondent-pharmacy requested funds from the Department of Revenue for taxes paid under the Legend Drug Tax on transactions between Respondent’s non-resident pharmacies and Minnesota-based patients and doctors. The Commissioner of Revenue denied the refunds. The Tax Court granted summary judgment for Respondent, concluding that the Legend Drug Tax did not apply to the transactions at issue. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the tax did apply to the transactions and that application of the tax comported with the Due Process and Commerce Clauses of the United States Constitution. View "Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, LLC v. Commissioner of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a warrantless narcotics-dog sniff in the hallway outside Defendant’s apartment did not violate Defendant’s right to be free from unreasonable searches under the Minnesota and United States Constitutions. A jury found Defendant guilty of first-degree and fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. The court of appeals reversed the convictions, concluding that the narcotics-dog sniff in the hallway immediately adjacent to Defendant’s apartment door was a search under the Fourth Amendment because it violated Defendant’s reasonable expectations of privacy and that the warrantless search of Defendant’s home was unreasonable. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the police did not intrude upon the curtilage of Defendant’s apartment or his reasonable expectation of privacy when they conducted the dog sniff, and therefore, no Fourth Amendment search occurred; and (2) because the police were lawfully present in the hallway and had a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, the dog sniff did not violate Minn. Const. art. I, section 10. View "State v. Edstrom" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the County and others in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action alleging that plaintiff was sexually assaulted by former corrections officer Louis Campana. The court held that the claims against the County were properly dismissed where plaintiff failed to show that the County itself caused the constitutional violation at issue; nothing in the record established that any failure to train Campana caused him to assault plaintiff or that the County was deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's rights; two supervisors' negligence was not sufficient to establish section 1983 liability; a reasonable officer in Sheriff Samuelson's position would not have known that he needed to more closely supervise Campana, and the Sheriff was entitled to qualified immunity; and a reasonable officer in Defendant Gregg's position would not have concluded on this record that Campana posed an obvious risk to commit sexual assault. View "Marsh v. Phelps County" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the school district in an action filed by plaintiffs of a student, alleging violation of the student's rights under the Rehabilitation Act when the school district failed to make reasonable accommodations for her. The court held that the parents' complaint sought relief available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) -- relief for the denial of a free and appropriate public education-- and thus they must exhaust their administrative remedies unless an exception to the exhaustion requirement applied. In this case, none of the three exceptions to the exhaustion requirement applied. Therefore, the district court properly granted summary judgment for failure to exhaust administrative remedies under the IDEA. View "Nelson v. Charles City Community School District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that using a prior juvenile adjudication of delinquency for the commission of an offense that would have been felonious assault if committed by an adult as an element of the offense of having a weapon under disability, as set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 2923.13(A)(2), does not violate due process under the Ohio or United States Constitutions. Appellant was indicted on one count of having a weapon while under a disability. The alleged disability stemmed from Appellant’s prior adjudication of delinquency as a juvenile for committing a felonious assault. Appellant filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that his juvenile adjudication could not be used as a predicate for criminal conduct under section 2923.13(A)(2). The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. Appellant was subsequently convicted and sentenced. The court of appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a previous juvenile adjudication may be an element of the weapons-under-disability offense set forth in section 2923.13(A)(2) without violating due process. View "State v. Carnes" on Justia Law

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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