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The Fifth Circuit denied motions for authorization to file a successive habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. 2244, and for a stay of execution. Movant was sentenced to death after he used a semiautomatic assault rifle to open fire on a children's birthday party, injuring party attendees and killing a grandmother and her five year old granddaughter. The court held that movant failed to make a prima facie showing that the factual predicate for his new habeas claim could not have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence and thus could not have been included in his first federal petition. The court also held that he failed to make a prima facie showing that, based on the testimony at issue, no reasonable juror would have found him guilty; movant's claim was not dismissed on the basis of an independent and adequate state procedural ground; and the Brady claim movant wished to raise with the district court was therefore alternatively time-barred. View "In Re: Erick Davila" on Justia Law

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DaSilva, a Waupan Correctional Institution inmate, received his medication one evening, then became dizzy, vomited, lost consciousness, and fell, hitting his head. DaSilva believes he was given the wrong medication. More than three hours passed before DaSilva was taken to the hospital (only five minutes away), where doctors stapled a deep laceration and diagnosed a serious concussion. DaSilva sued the officer who gave him the medication (Coby), a corrections supervisor, and Nurse DeYoung, under the Eighth Amendment. A magistrate judge concluded that Coby should be dismissed from the case because the distribution of the medication was only a mistake, which fails as a matter of law to reflect deliberate indifference. After discovery, the court, through the magistrate, granted the remaining defendants summary judgment. The Seventh Circuit determined that the matter could proceed to appeal, even though Coby was dismissed before he had an opportunity to consent to the disposition of the case by a magistrate. There was no final judgment until after the state (representing the defendants) filed its consent and Coby was a prison employee who stood in exactly the same position as the other two defendants for purposes of legal representation. View "DaSilva v. Rymarkiewicz" on Justia Law

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Mariano Moya and Lonnie Petry were arrested based on outstanding warrants and detained in a county jail for 30 days or more prior to their arraignments. These arraignment delays violated New Mexico law, which required arraignment of a defendant within 15 days of arrest. Both men sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for deprivation of due process. The district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a valid claim. The Tenth Circuit affirmed because Moya and Petry failed to plausibly allege a factual basis for liability. View "Moya v. Garcia" on Justia Law

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Defendant-Appellant Kyle Hebert was convicted by jury on four counts of possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment and 15 years’ supervised release. On appeal, Hebert challenged the district court’s finding that he had two prior convictions that triggered a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment. The Tenth Circuit affirmed, finding Hebert’s prior convictions “relate to” sexual abuse under the categorical approach. View "United States v. Hebert" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss an action filed by plaintiff, challenging the termination of his employment from the University. The court held that plaintiff's speech stemmed from his professional responsibilities and was made in furtherance of those responsibilities, and was therefore not protected under the First Amendment; the pre- and post-termination procedures did not violate plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment due process rights; plaintiff failed to establish a substantive due process claim because he failed to show that the University President's decision to terminate him was both conscience shocking and in violation of one or more fundamental rights; the district court properly dismissed the individual capacity claims against the University President based on qualified immunity; and the district court properly dismissed the claims against defendants in their official capacity. View "Groenewold v. Kelley" on Justia Law

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Oil States sued Greene's Energy for infringement of a patent relating to technology for protecting wellhead equipment used in hydraulic fracturing. Greene’s challenged the patent’s validity in court and petitioned the Patent Office for inter partes review, 35 U.S.C. 311-319. The district court issued a claim-construction order favoring Oil States; the Board concluded that Oil States’ claims were unpatentable. The Federal Circuit rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of inter partes review. The Supreme Court affirmed. Inter partes review does not violate Article III. Congress may assign adjudication of public rights to entities other than Article III courts. Inter partes review falls within the public-rights doctrine. Patents are “public franchises” and granting patents is a constitutional function that can be carried out by the executive or legislative departments without “judicial determination.’ Inter partes review involves the same basic matter as granting a patent. Patents remain “subject to [the Board’s] authority” to cancel outside of an Article III court. The similarities between the procedures used in inter partes review and judicial procedures does not suggest that inter partes review violates Article III. The Court noted that its decision “should not be misconstrued as suggesting that patents are not property for purposes of the Due Process Clause or the Takings Clause.” When Congress properly assigns a matter to adjudication in a non-Article III tribunal, “the Seventh Amendment poses no independent bar to the adjudication of that action by a nonjury factfinder.” View "Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene's Energy Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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A court may look to the evidence presented at trial when determining if a defendant’s conviction violated the constitution prohibition against double jeopardy. Defendant appealed his convictions of assault of public safety personnel and interfering with an officer, arguing that the two convictions constituted a double jeopardy violation. To resolve Defendant’s claim, the Appellate Court reviewed evidence presented at trial and concluded that the two crimes did not stem from the same conduct. Consequently, the Appellate Court concluded that Defendant did not satisfy the requirements to establish a double jeopardy violation in the context of a single trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Appellate Court properly reviewed the evidence to determine that the offenses in question did not arise from the same act or transaction; and (2) therefore, Defendant’s conviction did not violate double jeopardy. View "State v. Porter" on Justia Law

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In California v. Woods, 19 Cal.App.5th 1080 (2018), the Court of Appeal held that Senate Bill No. 620 (and the associated amendment to Penal Code Section 12022.53, effective January 1, 2018) applied retroactively to nonfinal cases. Defendant Colleen Ann Harris filed a motion to recall the remittitur to either permit briefing on the application of Senate Bill No. 620 and the amendment to section 12022.53 to her case, which was final almost a year before the statute’s effective date, or remand the case to the trial court to exercise its discretion as to whether to strike the firearm enhancement under the amendment. Noting that recalling a remittitur is an extraordinary remedy generally available in a limited number of instances, the Court found defendant relied on a narrow exception as announced by the California Supreme Court in California v. Mutch, 4 Cal.3d 389 (1971). The Court determined the narrow exception did not apply here. Accordingly, the Court denied the motion and held a motion to recall the remittitur was not the appropriate procedural vehicle through which to seek the requested relief in cases that are final and do not involve Mutch-type circumstances. View "California v. Harris" on Justia Law

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In 2009, the New Mexico legislative and executive branches statutorily abolished capital punishment for first-degree murder, the only remaining New Mexico crime carrying a potential death sentence, for all offenses committed after July 1, 2009. Defendant Muhammad Ameer was charged with first-degree murder committed on or after July 1, 2009. In this appeal, an issue arose from the district court’s order applying the capital offense exception to the constitutional right to bail and denying Defendant any form of pretrial release. The New Mexico Supreme Court held that first-degree murder was not currently a constitutionally defined capital offense in New Mexico that would authorize a judge to categorically deny release pending trial. Following briefing and oral argument, the Supreme Court issued a bench ruling and written order reversing the district court’s detention order that had been based solely on the capital offense exception. In the same order, the Supreme Court remanded the case for the district court to consider the State’s unaddressed request for detention under the 2016 amendment to Article II, 4 Section 13 of the New Mexico Constitution, allowing courts a new and broader evidence-based authority to deny pretrial release for any felony defendant “if the prosecuting authority . . . proves by clear and convincing evidence that no release conditions will reasonably protect the safety of any other person or the community.” At that time, the Court advised its opinion would follow; this was the opinion setting forth the Court’s reasoning. View "New Mexico v. Ameer" on Justia Law

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Defendants Isaac Martinez and Carla Casias were each indicted on one count of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Early in the investigation of the robbery, a police detective enlisted the help of the deputy district attorney, who prepared and authorized service of what purported to be judicial subpoenas duces tecum (the subpoenas) to obtain records of calls and text messages of suspects from their cellular telephone providers. These purported subpoenas represented on their face that they were issued in the name of the Eighth Judicial District Court, although at the time of their preparation and service there was no pending prosecution, court action, or grand jury proceeding. Over signature of the deputy district attorney, some of these purported subpoenas ordered production of “Call Detail Records, and Text Message Detail” for the specified phones, all ordered subscriber information, and all ordered production to the Taos Police Department with the warning, “IF YOU DO NOT COMPLY WITH THIS SUBPOENA, you may be held in contempt of court and punished by fine or imprisonment.” These early subpoenas were filed with the district court in a miscellaneous court docket, rather than a criminal or grand jury docket, but they were styled as “State of New Mexico, Plaintiff, vs. John Doe, Defendant.” The detective used information gained from the early subpoenas to obtain search warrants for additional evidence. In this case, the New Mexico Supreme Court addressed whether a court could dismiss an indictment because evidence considered by the grand jury had been developed through use of unlawful subpoenas. The Supreme Court confirmed “almost a century of judicial precedents in New Mexico” and held that, absent statutory authorization, a court may not overturn an otherwise lawful grand jury indictment because of trial inadmissibility or improprieties in the procurement of evidence that was considered by the grand jury. View "New Mexico v. Martinez" on Justia Law