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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

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's judgment and remanded with instructions to enter judgment in favor of defendant in an action brought by the owner of a mobile home park alleging that the City engaged in an unconstitutional taking. Plaintiff alleged that the City violated the Fifth Amendment when it approved a lower rent increase than he had requested. The panel applied the factors in Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York, 438 U.S. 104 (1978), and held that plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence to create a triable question of fact as to the economic impact caused by the City's denial of larger rent increases; plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence supporting its investment-backed expectations claim; and the character of the City's action could not be characterized as a physical invasion by the government. Based on the evidence, the panel held that no reasonable finder of fact could conclude that the denials of plaintiff's requested rent increases were the functional equivalent of a direct appropriation of the property. View "Colony Cove Properties, LLC v. City of Carson" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the County and two deputy sheriffs after plaintiff was shot during the deputies' response to a 911 call. When the deputies arrived at plaintiff's apartment, plaintiff answered the door holding a large knife. Although the jury's verdict that Deputy Rose violated plaintiff's right to be free from excessive force was sufficient to deny him qualified immunity under the first prong of the qualified immunity analysis, the panel held that plaintiff failed to identify any sufficiently analogous cases showing that under similar circumstances a clearly established Fourth Amendment right against the use of deadly force existed at the time of the shooting. Therefore, the panel affirmed the district court's ruling that Deputy Rose was entitled to qualified immunity. The panel held that the district court erroneously concluded that the California Bane Act required a separate showing of coercion beyond that inherent in the use of force. The panel held that the Bane Act required a specific intent to violate the arrestee's right and that no reasonable jury in this case could find that the deputy had a specific intent to violate plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights. Accordingly, the panel reversed and remanded this claim for a new trial. Finally, the panel addressed claims in defendants' cross-appeal. View "Reese v. County of Sacramento" on Justia Law

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The Regional Transportation District and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District were funded by a broad sales tax with a few exemptions. Over time, Colorado lawmakers added and removed exemptions. As the exemptions for the State and the Districts gradually diverged, tax collection became increasingly complicated for both vendors and the revenue department. To make it easier for everyone, the General Assembly passed House Bill 13-1272, adding and removing exemptions on the Districts’ taxes to realign them with the State’s, which yielded a projected net increase in the Districts’ annual tax revenue. When the Districts began collecting the altered sales tax without holding a vote, the TABOR Foundation sued, arguing the Bill created a “new tax” or effected a “tax policy change” and therefore required voter approval under Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The trial court granted the Districts summary judgment on stipulated facts, and a division of the court of appeals affirmed. Through this opinion, the Colorado Supreme Court clarified that legislation causing only an incidental and de minimis tax-revenue increase does not amount to a “new tax” or a “tax policy change.” The Court held H.B. 13-1272 was such a bill: serving to simplify tax collection and ease administrative burdens. The Bill “only incidentally increases the Districts’ tax revenues by a de minimis amount.” Accordingly, the Court concluded H.B. 13-1272 did not violate the Colorado Constitution, and affirmed the court of appeals. View "TABOR Foundation v. Regional Transportation District" on Justia Law

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As voir dire was about to commence at Bickham’s state court trial, officers cleared the public from the courtroom. Bickham’s counsel objected, citing Presley v. Georgia (2010), which established that a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a public trial is violated when a court excludes the public from jury selection. In response, the judge stated that removing spectators was necessary so that the jury panel of 52 people would not be intermixed with the audience, and that once the panel was in, those who fit separately from the jury could be allowed in. Counsel stated: I understand. After jury selection, counsel raised the matter again. The judge noted that only two seats had remained after the panel was seated and that no request had been made for those seats. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Bickham’s convictions for second-degree murder, armed robbery, assault with intent to commit armed robbery, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, finding that Bickham procedurally defaulted his Sixth Amendment claim when he did not make a contemporaneous objection to the courtroom's closure. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of his 28 U.S.C. 2254 petition, agreeing that Bickham's claim was procedurally defaulted for failing to make a timely objection to the exclusion of the public. View "Bickham v. Winn" on Justia Law

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Katherine Heffernan appealed the trial court’s decision dismissing her complaint, which sought indemnification from the State on a default judgment she obtained against a state employee and which claimed that the State was vicariously liable for the employee’s conduct. The State determined that the acts alleged by Heffernan were outside the scope of the employee’s official duties and that, therefore, the State did not have a duty to defend the employee against Heffernan’s action. Heffernan, unable to locate the employee to make service of process, eventually served him through process by publication. Heffernan notified the State that she had served the employee, and the State again declined to take any action. The employee did not appear or offer any defense in Heffernan’s suit, and the trial court eventually issued a default judgment against him. The court subsequently held a hearing on damages and awarded Heffernan both punitive and compensatory damages. The Vermont Supreme Court found that while Heffernan presented complex arguments, its decision regarding both of her theories of State liability was controlled by the plain language of Vermont’s statutory scheme concerning each issue. Pursuant to the clear limitations on liability in Vermont’s Tort Claims Act, the State retains sovereign immunity relative to the actions alleged in Heffernan’s complaint. As such, the trial court did not err in dismissing her case. View "Heffernan v. Vermont" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals, which held that the police did not have probable cause to search the trunk of a car owned and driven by Respondent. The suppression court denied Respondent’s motion to suppress, ruling that, under the totality of the circumstances, the officers had reasonable suspicion that the individuals in the vehicle were involved in criminal activity, permitting the continued detention, and that by the time the officers searched the trunk of Respondent’s vehicle they had amassed probable cause - based in part on drug evidence found on the person of Respondent’s front-seat passenger - to believe the trunk contained evidence of drug-related activity. The Court of Special Appeals reversed. The Court of Appeals vacated the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals, holding that the intermediate appellate court failed to review, in their entirety, the facts and circumstances that led the police to search the trunk of Respondent’s car and instead isolated certain facts while ignoring or minimizing others. View "State v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals, which held that the police did not have probable cause to search the trunk of a car owned and driven by Respondent. The suppression court denied Respondent’s motion to suppress, ruling that, under the totality of the circumstances, the officers had reasonable suspicion that the individuals in the vehicle were involved in criminal activity, permitting the continued detention, and that by the time the officers searched the trunk of Respondent’s vehicle they had amassed probable cause - based in part on drug evidence found on the person of Respondent’s front-seat passenger - to believe the trunk contained evidence of drug-related activity. The Court of Special Appeals reversed. The Court of Appeals vacated the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals, holding that the intermediate appellate court failed to review, in their entirety, the facts and circumstances that led the police to search the trunk of Respondent’s car and instead isolated certain facts while ignoring or minimizing others. View "State v. Johnson" on Justia Law