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The Fifth Circuit granted respondent's petition for rehearing en banc and withdrew the prior opinion, substituting the following opinion. The court affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's 28 U.S.C. 2254 application. The court held that, under Gonzalez v. Crosby, petitioner's purported Rule 59(e) motion was not an unauthorized successive section 2254 application and, if timely filed, would toll the deadline for filing a notice of appeal until the entry of the order disposing of the motion. In this case, petitioner's Rule 59(e) motion, which was delivered by petitioner's "next friend," was timely filed and tolled the deadline for filing a notice of appeal. Finally, the court held that petitioner was not entitled to section 2254 relief because the circumstances in this case did not rise to the level of the extreme situations wherein courts have previously imputed juror bias. View "Uranga v. Davis" on Justia Law

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The Templos filed a complaint with two causes of action for personal injury and property damage against Lu for damages resulting from a car accident. The third cause of action named the state as the sole defendant and sought a declaratory judgment that California Code of Civil Procedure, section 631, 1 which requires litigants to pay a $150 nonrefundable jury fee, is unconstitutional as an improper “tax” because it was “not enacted by a two-thirds vote of the California Legislature [as required by] . . . Article XIII A Section 3 of the California Constitution.” They alleged the fee “does not provide plaintiffs with any benefit or service and is not even applied to the actual jury fees incurred during the course of a trial. In addition, the [fee] does not reasonably reflect the cost incurred, if any, by the State . . . to provide jury services to the plaintiffs.” The Judicial Council, not the state, administers and manages the nonrefundable jury fees. The trial court dismissed and the court of appeal affirmed. The Judicial Council, not the state as a whole, has the “direct institutional interest” necessary to defend the action. View "Templo v. State of California" on Justia Law

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1997 Wisconsin Act 292, designed to address the effects of prenatal substance abuse, brings unborn children and their mothers within the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts if the mothers exhibit a habitual lack of self‐control with respect to alcohol or drugs that raises a substantial health risk for their unborn children. Loertscher sought treatment at a county health facility. Her caregivers determined that she was pregnant and that she had tested positive for methamphetamine, amphetamines, and tetrahydrocannabinol. The court ordered Loertscher to report to an alcohol and drug abuse treatment center for assessment and possible treatment. When she failed to comply, the court found her in contempt and placed her in county detention. She eventually agreed to participate in the program. Loertscher filed suit, 42 U.S.C. 1983 challenging the constitutionality of Act 292, then moved out of Wisconsin. The district court denied a motion to dismiss, concluded that Act 292 was void for vagueness and granted injunctive relief against the state defendants but determined that the county defendants were not personally liable. The Seventh Circuit vacated. Loertscher’s case is moot. She has moved out of Wisconsin and has no plans to return. It is not reasonably likely that she will again be subject to the Act. View "Loertscher v. Anderson" on Justia Law

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The district court refused to enjoin the School District from allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with the students’ gender identities rather than the sex they were determined to have at birth. The District required students claiming to be transgender to meet with licensed counselors. There are several multi-user bathrooms; each has individual stalls. Several single-user restrooms are available to all. "Cisgender" students claimed the policy violated their constitutional rights of bodily privacy; Title IX, 20 U.S.C. 1681; and tort law. The Third Circuit affirmed. Under the circumstances, the presence of transgender students in the locker and restrooms is no more offensive to privacy interests than the presence of the other students who are not transgender. The constitutional right to privacy must be weighed against important competing governmental interests; transgender students face extraordinary social, psychological, and medical risks. The District had a compelling interest in shielding them from discrimination. Nothing suggests that cisgender students who voluntarily elect to use single-user facilities face the same extraordinary consequences as transgender students would if they were forced to use them. The cisgender students were claiming a broad right of personal privacy in a space that is just not that private. The mere presence of a transgender individual in a bathroom or locker room would not be highly offensive to a reasonable person. View "Doe v. Boyertown Area School District" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the entry of a jury verdict awarding over $1.3 in compensatory damages and $1.3 million in punitive damages to Plaintiff, a black female former employee of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), who claimed that her supervisors at the MBTA conspired to terminate her employment because of her race. The Court held (1) the evidence was sufficient to support the compensatory damages award for wrongful termination and to justify the punitive damages amount; (2) the trial judge committed clear error in imposing a sanction for removing the entry of default, but the MBTA failed to show that it was prejudiced by the default sanction order; (3) MBTA failed to show that it was prejudiced when the trial judge allowed a hostile work environment theory not explicitly pled in the complaint to go to the jury; and (4) MBTA waived its claim that it should be able to take advantage of Buntin v. City of Boston, 857 F.3d 69 (1st Cir. 2017), decided while this case was on appeal. View "Dimanche v. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action against defendants, alleging excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants, holding that, although the district court erred in determining a law enforcement officer did not violate plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights, the officer was entitled to qualified immunity because the constitutional violation was not clearly established when the incident occurred. In this case, plaintiff was shot by the officer because he was suspected of breaking and entering and battery, and the officer was aware of these crimes before interacting with plaintiff; plaintiff was standing about 20 feet from the officer holding a knife, inflicting harm on himself and stumbling, but not threatening others or making sudden movements; and plaintiff was refusing to obey the officer's repeated commands to drop the knife at the time he was shot. The court also affirmed the court's judgment on the common law intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against the officer and on the respondeat superior claim asserted against the County. View "Wilson v. Prince George's County" on Justia Law

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Ernest Orozco pled guilty to one count of unlawfully driving a vehicle of another without permission, and one count of receiving a stolen vehicle. California voters enacted Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014, which among other things, established a procedure for specified classes of offenders to have their felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors and be resentenced accordingly. In a previously unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's denial of Orozco's petition for resentencing under Proposition 47. In this opinion, at the direction of the California Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal reconsidered this matter in light of California v. Page, 3 Cal.5th 1175 (2017). The appellate court affirmed the trial court's order denying Orozco's petition without prejudice to consideration of a subsequent petition providing evidence of eligibility. View "California v. Orozco" on Justia Law

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The Attorney General’s decisions to certify Initiative Petition 17-07 and not to certify the related petition, Initiative Petition 17-08, were correct. Initiative Petition 17-07 would limit the number of patients who may be assigned to a registered nurse in the Commonwealth’s healthcare facilities and would prohibit facilities from reducing certain other healthcare staff. Initiative Petitioner 17-08 contained the same provisions as the first petition and added a section that would require publicly funded hospitals to make annual public disclosures of their financial assets. While certifying that the first petition met the requirements of article 48 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution, the Attorney General declined to certify the second petition on the grounds that the mandate for financial disclosure was not sufficiently related to or mutually dependent upon the other provisions in the petition. The Supreme Judicial Court held that the Attorney General’s decisions to certify Initiative Petition 17-07 and not to certify Initiative Petition 17-08 were in compliance with the requirements of article 48. View "Oberlies v. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for murder in the first degree on the theory of extreme atrocity or cruelty and other crimes, holding that, although certain of the prosecutor’s questions and comments concerning Defendant’s prearrest silence were improper, these errors did not create a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice. The Court further held (1) there was ample evidence to support the prosecutor’s statement during closing argument that Defendant struck the victim repeatedly with a hammer; and (2) there was no error in the judge’s instructions on the lesser included offenses to murder in the first degree. View "Commonwealth v. Gardner" on Justia Law

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Initiative Petition 15-17 should not have been certified by the Attorney General as “in proper form for submission to the people” because the petition did not contain only subjects “which are related or which are mutually dependent” pursuant to article 48 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution, as amended by article 74 of the Amendments. The initiative petition in this case would ask voters to decide whether to amend the existing flat tax rate mandated by the Massachusetts Constitution in order to impose a graduated tax on residents with incomes in excess of $1 million. The initiative petition provided that all revenues received from the proposed tax “shall" be earmarked for education and transportation, subject to appropriation by the legislature. Plaintiffs filed a complaint challenging the Attorney General’s certification of the initiative petition and seeking to enjoin the Secretary of the Commonwealth from placing the petition on the 2018 statewide ballot. The Supreme Judicial Court held that the petition may not be put before the people because it contained subjects that were not related. View "Anderson v. Attorney General" on Justia Law