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After the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held that plaintiff was "actually innocent" of assault on a public servant in Texas court, he filed suit against the City and law enforcement officers under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Plaintiff alleged a Brady claim against the City and the district court granted summary judgment in his favor. The Fifth Circuit reversed and dismissed the action with prejudice, holding that plaintiff's guilty plea precludes him from asserting a Brady claim under section 1983. View "Alvarez v. City of Brownsville" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, heirs of Norman F. Hicks, Sr., filed suit against the County and other defendants under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the Texas Tort Claims Act, and the Texas Wrongful Death Act. The district court ultimately granted summary judgment and final judgment for the County. The Fifth Circuit affirmed and held that plaintiffs have not met their evidentiary burden of showing a genuine dispute of material fact as to the existence of a persistent, widespread practice of city officials or employees, which, although not authorized by officially adopted and promulgated policy, was so common and well settled as to constitute a custom that fairly represents municipal policy; plaintiffs have failed to produce competent summary judgment evidence of the County's failure to train regarding responses to assaults by inmates and medical aid following a response incident; and the magistrate judge did not abuse her discretion in denying leave to amend after the amendment deadline. View "Hicks-Fields v. Pool" on Justia Law

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In rural Brown County, most buildings depend on septic systems. Simpson, who installed and repaired septic systems, received a letter demanding immediate repair of the septic system on Simpson’s mother’s property and threatening that if Simpson did not make the repairs, the county would request action through the prosecutor’s office and “may request an executive meeting of the Health Board to recommend that [Simpson’s] license to install septics be rescinded.” Two weeks later, without further process or an opportunity to be heard, Simpson received a letter: “Based on the findings our Health Board members approved the removal of your name from our list of approved septic contractors.” The letter did not inform Simpson of any law he had violated, and did not identify any opportunities for administrative or judicial review. Simpson filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The district court dismissed, reasoning that post-deprivation remedies, such as common-law judicial review, satisfied the due process requirement and that Simpson had not availed himself of such remedies. The Seventh Circuit reversed, finding that Simpson plausibly alleged that he was denied the pre-deprivation notice and hearing he was due and that even if the County had some basis for summary action, it has not shown there is an adequate state law post-deprivation remedy. View "Simpson v. Brown County" on Justia Law

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Appellant Qu’eed Batts was convicted of a first-degree murder that he committed when he was fourteen years old. The issue for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s review was whether the sentencing court imposed an illegal sentence when it resentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. After careful review, the Court concluded, based on the findings made by the sentencing court and the evidence upon which it relied, that the sentence was illegal in light of Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), and Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718 (2016). Pursuant to its grant of allowance of appeal, the Court further concluded that to effectuate the mandate of Miller and Montgomery, procedural safeguards were required to ensure that life-without-parole sentences were meted out only to “the rarest of juvenile offenders” whose crimes reflected “permanent incorrigibility,” “irreparable corruption” and “irretrievable depravity,” as required by Miller and Montgomery. The Pennsylvania Court recognized a presumption against the imposition of a sentence of life without parole for a juvenile offender. To rebut the presumption, the Commonwealth bears the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the juvenile offender is incapable of rehabilitation. View "Pennsylvania v. Batts" on Justia Law

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There is no equal protection violation for the procedural difference between when a supervising agency files a petition to modify, revoke, or terminate a criminal defendant’s parole or postrelease community supervision, its petition must be accompanied by a written report containing information specified by statute and the California Rules of Court, and when a district attorney files such a petition, its petition need not be accompanied by such a report. Therefore, the Court of Appeal held that the trial court correctly overruled the demurrer in this case. View "People v. Castel" on Justia Law

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In 2004, petitioner-appellant Wade Lay and his so Chris attempted to rob a Tulsa bank, the money from which was going to fund a patriotic revolution against the federal government akin to what the Founding Fathers had done. A bank security guard was killed in the process; the Lays did not get away with any money, and they were apprehended later that day. The Lays were tried together. Chris was represented by counsel; the elder Lay proceeded pro se. Both were found guilty by a jury. Chris received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Wade was sentenced to death. A district court stayed habeas proceedings pending a psychiatric evaluation for Wade. The Supreme Court decided Ryan v. Gonzales, and in response, the district court lifted the stay, found no evidentiary hearing was necessary following Wade’s psychiatric evaluation, and denied habeas relief. The Tenth Circuit granted a certificate of appealability (COA) on whether the district court should have ordered a temporary stay of the underlying habeas proceedings until Wade Lay could be restored to competency. Finding no reversible error in the district court’s judgment, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "Lay v. Royal" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, Neiman Marcus, alleging interference with the exercise of his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12203(b). The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order finding this action moot and granting summary judgment to Neiman Marcus. The panel held that section 12203 authorized the district court to award nominal damages as equitable relief to plaintiff. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Bayer v. Neiman Marcus Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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Oregon sought a declaratory judgment that, under state law, the DEA must obtain a court order to enforce investigative subpoenas. The ACLU intervened, arguing that the DEA's use of subpoenas violated their Fourth Amendment rights. The district court reached the merits of the Fourth Amendment claim and found a violation of privacy interests asserted by the ACLU. The Ninth Circuit reversed without reaching the merits of the Fourth Amendment claim, holding that the ACLU lacked Article III standing to seek declaratory and injunctive relief prohibiting the DEA from obtaining prescription records without a warrant supported by probable cause. The panel explained that the Supreme Court recently clarified this independent standing requirement for intervenors in Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates, No. 16-605, slip op. at 6 (U.S. June 5, 2017). The panel also held that the federal administrative subpoena statute, 21 U.S.C. 876, preempted Oregon's statutory court order requirement. View "OR Prescription Drug Monitoring Program v. ACLU" on Justia Law

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The department of corrections petitioned for review of the court of appeals’ judgment reversing a district court order denying Raymond Fetzer’s petition pursuant to C.R.C.P. 106(a)(2). Fetzer’s petition sought an order compelling the recalculation of his parole eligibility date, asserting that the department’s “governing sentence” method, which calculated his parole eligibility date solely on the basis of the longest of his concurrent sentences, violated the statutory requirement that his multiple sentences be treated as one continuous sentence. The court of appeals reversed and remanded for recalculation, reasoning both that, contrary to the department’s understanding, the statutory continuous sentence requirement applies to concurrent as well as consecutive sentences and that the department’s “governing sentence” method of calculation could not apply to Fetzer’s sentences because they were all subject to the same statutory parole provisions. Because Fetzer’s multiple sentences were not all subject to the same statutory parole provisions, as indicated in the court of appeals’ opinion, reference to a governing sentence, or some comparable means of determining the applicable incidents of his parole, may have remained necessary to the calculation of Fetzer’s parole eligibility date. The judgment of the court of appeals reversing the district court’s order was therefore affirmed. Its remand order, directing the department to recalculate Fetzer’s parole eligibility date in accordance with its opinion, however, was reversed, and the case remanded with directions that it be returned to the district court. View "Exec. Dir. of the Colo. Dept. of Corr. v. Fetzer" on Justia Law

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Married same-sex couples conceived children through anonymous sperm donation. Their babies were born in Arkansas in 2015. Each couple completed paperwork listing both female spouses as parents. The Department of Health issued birth certificates bearing only the birth mother’s name, based on Ark. Code 20–18–401, which states “the mother is deemed to be the woman who gives birth to the child … if the mother was married at the time of either conception or birth … the name of [her] husband shall be entered on the certificate as the father of the child.” Another man may appear on the birth certificate if the “mother,” “husband,” and “putative father” all file affidavits vouching for the putative father’s paternity. The requirement that a married woman’s husband appear on her child’s birth certificate applies if the couple conceived by means of artificial insemination by an anonymous sperm donor. The couples challenged the law. The trial court held that the challenged sections were inconsistent with the 2015 Supreme Court holding, Obergefell v. Hodges, that the Constitution entitles same-sex couples to civil marriage “on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.” The Arkansas Supreme Court reversed. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed, finding the statute invalid because it denied married same-sex couples access to the “constellation of benefits” that Arkansas links to marriage. The law required the placement of the birth mother’s husband on the birth certificate even when the husband was “definitively not the biological father,” but did not impose the same requirement with respect to the birth mother’s wife. Same-sex parents lacked the same right as opposite-sex parents to be listed on a document used for important transactions like medical decisions or enrolling a child in school. View "Pavan v. Smith" on Justia Law