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While police officers conducted an unlawful search by testing a key in the lock of the unit in which he was staying, the district court properly denied Defendant’s motion to suppress because, in searching the apartment, the officers relied in good faith on a warrant issued to search that unit. The key was seized from Defendant during a search incident to his arrest. The police tried the key on doors to apartments inside a multi-family building outside which Defendant was arrested. The key opened the door to one of the units. When a warrant issued, police searched the unit and discovered a firearm and drugs. The district court denied Defendant’s motion to suppress. Defendant was subsequently convicted drug- and firearm-related crimes. The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s conviction and sentence, holding (1) there was an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, but the exclusionary rule should not apply in this case; (2) the district court did not err in admitting evidence that there was a credit-card-making machine in the unit; and (3) under plain error review, there was no error in the district court’s application of the fifteen-year-mandatory minimum sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act. View "United States v. Bain" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress drugs, a digital scale, and a firearm obtained following a traffic stop of the vehicle in which Defendant was a passenger. In his motion to suppress, Defendant argued that the evidence was obtained through an illegal search and pat-frisk. The district judge denied the motion after an evidentiary hearing, finding that the pat-frisk was warranted. Defendant then pled guilty to possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court, holding that the totality of the circumstances provided a particularized objective basis for the officer’s suspicion that Defendant was armed and dangerous, and therefore, the district court properly denied Defendant’s motion to suppress. View "United States v. Orth" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a suit challenging Rockville's zoning ordinance that prohibited the construction of self-storage facilities within 250 feet of property on which a public school is located. Plaintiffs argued that the enactment amounted to a denial of their due process and equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The court held that Siena did not have a constitutionally protected property interest in using its property to develop a storage facility. The court explained that the very nature of Siena's conditional site plan approval defeated any claim that Siena had a nondiscretionary entitlement to a building permit. Because Siena never satisfied the conditions of obtaining a requisite site plan approval, it was not eligible for a building permit. Even if Siena had a protected property interest here, the enactment of the zoning text amendment would still fall short of a substantive due process violation. In this case, the enactment represented nothing more than the ordinary exercise of a state's residual police power in land use and zoning, in which the state has long maintained a primary and sovereign interest. The court rejected Siena's remaining claims, including the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim, and affirmed the judgment in all respects. View "Siena Corp. v. Mayor and City Council of Rockville" on Justia Law

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After plaintiff was arrested for failing to confine his leafleting to an area designated for protest activities, as set forth in a protocol formulated by Baltimore's legal department in 2004, he filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the protocol. The Fourth Circuit addressed a challenge to the same protocol previously, Ross v. Early, 746 F.3d 546 (4th Cir. 2014), where the court affirmed the district court's decision to uphold the protocol. In this case, the district court dismissed the complaint because the court had already considered the constitutional claim in Ross. The court vacated, holding that, in Ross, the parties entered into a stipulation that dictated the level of constitutional scrutiny, but the parties to the instant case did not. Furthermore, the district court in the instant case did not consider an intervening relevant Supreme Court decision, McCullen v. Coakley, 134 S. Ct. 2518 (2014), and did not have the benefit of another, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 135 S. Ct. 2218 (2015). Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Lucero v. Early" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a petition for habeas relief challenging petitioner's conviction and death sentence for four counts of first degree murder. The panel held that, because petitioner failed to prove that any of the eyewitnesses provided material, false testimony or that the prosecution knew they committed perjury, the state court's rejection of petitioner's Mooney-Napue claims relating to the eyewitnesses was neither contrary to clearly established federal law nor objectively unreasonable; the state court reasonably denied petitioner's claim that certain testimony from non-eyewitnesses was false; the state court reasonably denied petitioner's claims under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963); the state court reasonably denied petitioner's claims relating to the exposure of two eyewitnesses; and the court affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's habeas petition with respect to the Mesarosh claim, lineup card claim, Massiah claim, ineffective assistance of counsel claim, and cumulative error claim. View "Sanders v. Cullen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s grant of qualified immunity to county deputy sheriff James Roark in this action brought by Marilyn Walton pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. In her complaint, Walton alleged a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights when Roark entered Waldron’s home to serve a warrant on Waldron’s grandson. Specifically, Waldron alleged that Roark violated the knock-and-announce rule and that her arrest was unlawful. The district court ultimately granted summary judgment in favor of Roark on the basis that he was entitled to qualified immunity. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Waldron did not meet her burden of showing that Roark violated a clearly established right in any of Waldron’s claims. View "Waldron v. Roark" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, three Laotian correctional officers, filed suit against the County pursuant to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Government Code section 12900 et seq., while simultaneously pursuing their workers' compensation remedies. Administrative law judges denied plaintiffs' claims in separate workers' compensation proceedings. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment for the County, holding that res judicata barred plaintiffs' claims. The court reasoned that, while workers' compensation was not plaintiffs' exclusive remedy, once they elected to pursue that remedy to a final, adverse judgment instead of insisting on the primacy of their rights under the FEHA, the WCAB became the exclusive forum to recover for their injuries. View "Ly v. County of Fresno" on Justia Law

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Sitting as “thirteenth juror,” the Court of Appeals reversed Marlon Little’s convictions and remanded for a new trial, finding the weight of the evidence preponderated heavily against the verdict. Despite its prior language suggesting otherwise, neither the Mississippi Supreme Court nor the Court of Appeals assumes the role of juror on appeal. Nurse practitioner David Ellis was attacked from behind and robbed while leaving his medical clinic. Ellis reacted by swinging his computer bag at the assailant’s head. During the struggle, Ellis fell down, and his attacker also stumbled. Ellis was on the ground when his attacker stuck a gun in Ellis’s face. Ellis saw the man “square in the face” from about three feet away. The man demanded Ellis’s wallet. Ellis complied. And the man fled. When Ellis took the stand, he stated clearly and unequivocally that Little was man who robbed him. The jury found him guilty of armed robbery and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He was sentenced to thirty years’ imprisonment for armed robbery and ten years’ for felon-in-possession, with his sentences to run concurrently. After his post-trial motions for judgment not withstanding the verdict and for a new trial were denied, he timely appealed. The appellate court majority found Ellis’s initial identification conflicted with Little’s “actual physical attributes, including age and build.” And because Ellis’s identification of Little as the robber was the only substantive evidence against Little, the majority found a new trial was warranted. The Supreme Court took an opportunity to clarify that neither it nor the Court of Appeals ever acted as “juror” on direct appeal. “We sit as an appellate court, and as such are ill equipped to find facts. [E]ven if we wanted to be fact finders, our capacity for such is limited in that we have only a cold, printed record to review.” The Court found no reason to disturb Little’s guilty verdict. Therefore, the Curt reversed the Court of Appeals and reinstated and affirmed the judgment of the trial court. View "Little v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Marvin Carver was the passenger in a vehicle not owned by him in which marijuana was found in the rear of the trunk. Although Nicholas Ingram, Carver’s half-brother who had been driving the vehicle, took full ownership of the contraband, Carver was convicted of possession of marijuana. Because the State presented insufficient evidence to support Carver’s conviction, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed and rendered judgment. View "Carver v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Christopher Drew petitioned under Penal Code section 1170.126 to recall a sentence pursuant to the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012. The trial court denied the petition because it was untimely and the court found Drew failed to show good cause to excuse the delay. In this case, the delay was lengthy and the reason for Drew's inactivity was unexplained except by the absence of a lawyer proactively advising him regarding his rights and remedies. Therefore, the Court of Appeal could not conclude it was an abuse of discretion for the trial court to find that Drew did not show "good cause" for his late-filed recall petition. View "California v. Drew" on Justia Law