Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 action, alleging violation of her constitutional rights when defendants conducted increasingly instrusive body searches. The court held that plaintiff's substantive due process claims were not cognizable with her Fourth Amendment allegations; doctors and nurses were entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff's claim that they violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by detaining her in order to conduct x-ray, pelvic, and rectal exams; because plaintiff did not demonstrate a clearly established right, it follows that her claims for deliberate indifference against the District also failed; the district court did not err by dismissing plaintiff's intentional torts claim against Doctor Solomin; and the district court did not err by declining to grant plaintiff's discovery requests because her claims could not overcome the clearly-established prong of the qualified immunity defense. View "Bustillos v. El Paso County Hospital District" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of habeas relief to a petitioner that was convicted of aggravated rape of a child under the age of thirteen. The court held that clearly established Supreme Court precedent demanded proof that the prosecution made knowing use of perjured testimony to establish a constitutional violation. In this case, the district court found no evidence to suggest that the State, or anyone else, knew that the victim was offering false testimony at trial. Therefore, the Louisiana Supreme Court decision denying relief was neither contrary to, nor involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Supreme Court precedent. View "Pierre v. Vannoy" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's due process claim, which alleged that plaintiff was deprived of his property interest in his job as superintendent. The court held that plaintiff has adequately stated a procedural due process claim because he did not receive a pre-termination hearing. The court affirmed with respect to plaintiff's remaining claims and remanded as to the property-based procedural due process claim. View "Greene v. Greenwood Public School District" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of petitioner's habeas petition and remanded with directions to issue the writ, holding that the verdict from petitioner's second trial necessarily determined that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted with specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm. Therefore, the State was constitutionally barred from prosecuting him for any crime having that same issue as an essential element. In this case, petitioner's second degree murder conviction from his third trial was thus invalid. Under clearly established Supreme Court precedent, second degree murder as defined in La. R.S. 14:30.1(A)(1) was not be a crime in which the State could constitutionally prosecute petitioner. View "Langley v. Prince" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit withdrew its prior opinion in order to eliminate reference to United States v. Gonzalez-Longoria, 831 F.3d 670 (5th Cir. 2016) (en banc), given that decision's abrogation by the Supreme Court in Sessions v. Dimaya, 138 S. Ct. 1204 (2018). The court upheld Senate Bill 4 (SB4), a Texas law that forbids "sanctuary city" policies throughout the state, and held that SB4's provisions, with one exception, did not violate the Constitution. The court held that none of SB4's provisions conflict with federal law where the assistance-cooperation, the status-inquiry, and the information-sharing provisions were not conflict preempted. The court affirmed the district court's injunction against enforcement of Section 752.053(a)(1) only as it prohibits elected officials from "endors[ing] a policy under which the entity or department prohibits or materially limits the enforcement of immigration laws." The court held that plaintiffs failed to establish that every seizure authorized by the ICE-detainer mandate violated the Fourth Amendment; the "materially limits" phrase had a clear core and was not void for vagueness; and plaintiffs' "commandeering" argument failed. Accordingly, the court vacated in large part the district court's preliminary injunction and remanded with instructions to dismiss the vacated provisions. View "City of El Cenizo v. Texas" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied petitioner a certificate of appealability (COA) to challenge the denial of his petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2254. In this case, petitioner requested a COA on whether he demonstrated a fundamental miscarriage of justice by raising a meritorious actual-innocence claim under Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298 (1995). The court held that petitioner failed to show that reasonable jurists would disagree with the district court's ruling that his claims were procedurally defaulted. Furthermore, the court held that no reasonable jurist would disagree that he failed to prove actual innocence and therefore he could not overcome procedural default. View "Fratta v. Davis" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed from a jury verdict in favor of Tyson for disability claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. The Fifth Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff's motion for a new trial where the jury had ample evidence that plaintiff was not disabled. The court also held that, in light of Haeberle v. Texas International Airlines, 739 F.2d 1019, 1022 (5th Cir. 1984), the district court did not err in denying plaintiff's counsel's request to interview the jurors. In this case, plaintiff's First Amendment claim was foreclosed by Haeberle. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Benson v. Tyson Foods, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed and rendered the district court's permanent injunction enjoining Senate Bill 14 and 5, which concerned the state's former photo voter ID law. SB 14 generally required voters to present one of five forms of government-issued identification in order to vote at the polls. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's finding that SB 14 had an unlawful disparate impact on African American and Hispanic voters in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. However, the en banc court reversed and remanded. The district court then entered an interim remedy whereby in-person voters who lacked an SB 14 ID could cast a regular ballot upon completing a Declaration of Reasonable Impediment and presenting a specified form of identification. SB 5 was subsequently enacted as a legislative remedy to cure and replace SB 14. The district court subsequently entered a remedial order permanently enjoining SB 14 as well as SB 5, vacating the interim remedy, and reinstating the pre-SB 14 law that lacked any photo voter ID requirement. This court then granted the State's emergency motion and stayed the district court's orders until the final disposition of the appeal. The court held that the appeal was not moot and the district court's overreach in its remedial injunction and proceedings was an abuse of discretion meriting reversal. The court held that, under the circumstances of this case, the district court had no legal or factual basis to invalidate SB 5, and its contemplation of Section 3(c) of the VRA relief also failed. View "Veasey v. Abbott" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed and rendered the district court's permanent injunction enjoining Senate Bill 14 and 5, which concerned the state's former photo voter ID law. SB 14 generally required voters to present one of five forms of government-issued identification in order to vote at the polls. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's finding that SB 14 had an unlawful disparate impact on African American and Hispanic voters in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. However, the en banc court reversed and remanded. The district court then entered an interim remedy whereby in-person voters who lacked an SB 14 ID could cast a regular ballot upon completing a Declaration of Reasonable Impediment and presenting a specified form of identification. SB 5 was subsequently enacted as a legislative remedy to cure and replace SB 14. The district court subsequently entered a remedial order permanently enjoining SB 14 as well as SB 5, vacating the interim remedy, and reinstating the pre-SB 14 law that lacked any photo voter ID requirement. This court then granted the State's emergency motion and stayed the district court's orders until the final disposition of the appeal. The court held that the appeal was not moot and the district court's overreach in its remedial injunction and proceedings was an abuse of discretion meriting reversal. The court held that, under the circumstances of this case, the district court had no legal or factual basis to invalidate SB 5, and its contemplation of Section 3(c) of the VRA relief also failed. View "Veasey v. Abbott" on Justia Law

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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