Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

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The Second Circuit reversed the district court's grant of a 28 U.S.C. 2255 petition to reduce defendant's sentence. The court held that the district court erred in concluding that defendant's prior convictions for the New York offenses of robbery in the third degree and attempted robbery in the third degree did not qualify as predicate "violent felonies" under the Armed Career Criminal Act. Accordingly, the court remanded for the district court to reinstate defendant's original sentence. View "United States v. Thrower" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under New York state law and 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the City and others, alleging that each were responsible for constitutional infirmities that infected plaintiff's criminal trial, caused his wrongful conviction, and resulted in damages. The district court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment. The Second Circuit held that plaintiff raised material issues of fact as to certain, but not all, of his claims that detectives fabricated and withheld material evidence. The court also held that the City may be held liable for the consequences of the alleged policies of the Queens County District Attorney's (QCDA) office under the Monell doctrine, and that plaintiff has raised material issues of fact as to the underlying constitutional violations: the non-disclosure of financial benefits received by one of the state's principal witnesses and impropriety of his prosecutor's summation. Accordingly, the court vacated in part, affirmed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Bellamy v. City of New York" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that two Monroe County Assistant District Attorneys (ADA), and others, violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by failing to timely arraign him on four of six identity fraud and larceny charges. The Second Circuit reversed the district court's denial of absolute immunity to the ADAs, holding that they were performing a traditional prosecutorial function when they determined that they would initiate plaintiff's prosecution via grand jury indictment and thus delay his arraignment on separate individual charges. The court held that it lacked appellate jurisdiction to consider the district court's denial of Monroe County's motion to dismiss because these claims against the county were not inextricably intertwined with the issue of the ADA's immunity. View "Ogunkoya v. Drake" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed the district court's holding that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) preempted a two-tiered security bond provision contained in New York City Local Law 62 for the Year 2015, entitled the Car Wash Accountability Law. The law reduced the required bond amount when an applicant seeking a license to operate a car wash in New York City was a party to a collective bargaining agreement providing certain protections. The Second Circuit vacated the district court's order, holding that the district court erred in granting summary judgment on federal preemption prior to the completion of discovery. Accordingly, the court remanded the case so that the parties could take discovery. View "Association of Car Wash Owners Inc. v. City of New York" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit reversed the district court's denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. Defendant, a police officer, tased a student at the American School for the Deaf after giving the student warnings that he would be tased if he did not follow the officer's instructions. The court held that defendant was entitled to qualified immunity because it was objectively reasonable for him to believe that, given the undisputed facts, his conduct complied with clearly established law. In this case, the student was a threat to himself and others, and the officer had a reasonable basis to believe that his instructions and warnings were being conveyed to the student by faculty and the student was ignoring them. View "Muschette v. Gionfriddo" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that defendants retaliated against him in violation of his First Amendment rights after he filed a report that a fellow sergeant in the Sheriff's Department had misused a digital repository of criminal justice information, and infringed his right to intimate familial association with his sister. The court held that defendants were entitled to qualified immunity because a reasonable officer would not have known that it was clearly established law that defendant's speech constituted a matter of public concern. The court also held that defendant failed to allege any facts that would allow a reasonable jury to infer that defendants intentionally interfered with defendant's relationship with his sister. View "Gorman v. Rensselaer County" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus based on ineffective assistance of counsel. The court held that, given the strong evidence of petitioner's guilty, he failed to show that his defense was constitutionally prejudiced by trial counsel's conduct. In this case, there was no basis for concluding that petitioner established a substantial likelihood of a different result, even if his attorney had obtained the phone records at issue prior to trial. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Garner v. Lee" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motions for judgment on the pleadings in an action alleging malicious prosecution and denial of equal protection of the laws. The court held that New York State law could not alter the standard that applied to the "favorable termination" element of a federal constitutional claim of malicious prosecution, which required that plaintiff show that the proceedings ended in a manner that affirmatively indicated his innocence. In this case, plaintiff has not plausibly pleaded that the criminal proceedings against him were terminated in a manner that indicated he was innocent of the charges. The court also held that plaintiff failed to state a claim under the equal protection clause. View "Lanning v. City of Glens Falls" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's motions for supervised release or bail pending resolution of his motion to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255. The court held that a certificate of appealability was not required when appealing from orders in a habeas proceeding that are collateral to the merits of the habeas claim itself, including the denial of bail. In this case, the absence of a COA was not a bar to petitioner's appeal from the district court's order denying his motion for supervised release or bail pending resolution of his habeas petition. The court also held that petitioner's motion lacked merit because it did not present substantial questions and petitioner failed to demonstrate extraordinary circumstances. View "Illarramendi v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of defendant's 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion and resentence to a lesser term of imprisonment than was initially imposed. The court held that defendant failed to meet his heavy burden of demonstrating a miscarriage of justice where frustration of a sentencing judge's subjective intent did not, by itself, render a sentence a miscarriage of justice to support a cognizable collateral challenge to that sentence. In this case, defendant pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly and intentionally distributing cocaine base, a schedule II controlled substance. In accordance with the plea agreement, defendant was sentenced to 112 months in prison. After defendant was sentenced, his conviction on a predicate offense was vacated and then became the basis of his section 2255 motion. View "United States v. Hoskins" on Justia Law