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In this interlocutory review on a discovery dispute, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court ordering counsel for Defendant to provide notice to the State before serving any subpoenas duces tecum on third parties and finding that there was no statutory or constitutional authority to support Defendant’s position that he had a right to issue ex parte subpoenas duces tecum. Defendant, who was charged with child endangerment, resisted the State’s motion regulate discovery and request that the district court enter an order prohibiting Defendant from issuing ex parte subpoenas duces tecum. The district court granted the State’s motion and issued a protective order stating that Defendant was prohibited from issuing any subpoena except under certain circumstances. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court grant of the motion to regulate discovery, holding (1) the proper procedure for Defendant to use if he seeks to issues an ex parte subpoena duces tecum is to file a motion setting forth the basis for the request; and (2) there is no corresponding constitutional violation under the state or federal Constitutions. View "State v. Russell" on Justia Law

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The district court did not abuse its discretion in commencing a criminal trial on June 26 and then postponing the presentation of evidence to July 7, eight days after the June 29 expiration of the speedy trial deadline due to the unavailability of medical experts. Defendant was charged with attempted murder and other offenses. Jury selection was reset for June 26. Eleven days later, on July 7, the State called four witnesses, including a medical expert. The jury found Defendant guilty of the lesser included offenses of assault with intent to inflict serious injury, criminal trespass, and willful injury causing serious injury. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentence, holding (1) assuming, without deciding, that the court’s use of a start-and-stop procedure to avoid the speedy trial deadline should be analyzed under the same standards as a straightforward extension of the speedy trial deadline, the trial court acted within its discretion; and (2) Defendant’s other issues on appeal were without merit. View "State v. McNeal" on Justia Law

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In this employment discrimination case, prejudicial errors in four jury instructions required a new trial. Plaintiff filed claims against her former employer, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation under the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA). The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff on both counts and awarded damages in the amount of $1.4 million. Employer then filed a motion for new trial, which the district court denied. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) workers may bring a direct-liability negligence claim under the ICRA against an employer for supervisor harassment, but the plaintiff must prove that the employe knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt and appropriate remedial action to end it; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting expert testimony on legal standards; but (3) the district court misinstructed the jury in four jury instructions, necessitating a new trial. View "Haskenhoff v. Homeland Energy Solutions, LLC" on Justia Law

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On September 26, 2014, plaintiff filed suit against the school district, alleging discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims (Welsh I). On December 16, 2014, the school district filed a plea to the jurisdiction in Welsh I, wherein the school district maintained, inter alia, that plaintiff's claims were barred by the statute of limitations because she filed her lawsuit more than two years after she filed her charge. The state district court granted the plea and dismissed the claims in Welsh I. On May 12, 2005, plaintiff filed this case against the school district (Welsh II), alleging claims for discrimination under Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), as well as retaliation claims. The Fifth Circuit held that the only claims in Welsh II that were barred under res judicata were those that were mature at the time that plaintiff filed her petition in Welsh I. The court vacated and remanded because the parties have not brief this issue under this framework and because at least some facts supporting plaintiff's alleged claims clearly were not extant at the time Welsh I was filed such that a claim could not have been mature based upon those facts. View "Welsh v. Fort Bend Independent School District" on Justia Law

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Halbach disappeared on Halloween 2005. Her family contacted police after she did not show up at the photography studio where she worked and her voice mailbox was full. Officers focused on the Avery Auto Salvage yard in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, the last place she was known to have gone. Avery, the son of the business owner, lived on the property. That day, Avery called Auto Trader magazine, for whom Halbach worked, to request that she photograph a minivan that he wished to sell. The police suspected that Avery’s 16‐year‐old nephew, Dassey, who also lived on the property, might have information about Halbach’s murder and called Dassey into the police station. After many hours of interrogation over several days, Dassey confessed that he, with Avery, had raped and murdered Halbach and burned her body. Before trial, Dassey recanted his confession. The state failed to find any physical evidence linking him to the crime. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. After unsuccessful state appeals and post‐conviction proceedings, Dassey sought federal habeas relief, claiming that he did not receive effective assistance of counsel and that his confession was not voluntary. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court in granting relief. The state court did not apply the proper standard; juvenile confessions require more care. “If a state court can evade all federal review by merely parroting the correct Supreme Court law, then the writ of habeas corpus is meaningless.” View "Dassey v. Dittmann" on Justia Law

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Shawn Wass appealed the judgment entered upon his conditional guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine). He argued the district court erred when it denied his motion to suppress his admission to the arresting officer that he was in possession of syringes. Wass argued the arresting officer did not inform him of his Miranda rights prior to being questioned. The trial court found the officer did not tactically induce a confession, coerce a confession, or use improper tactics to obtain the confession prior to Miranda warnings. The court found a second set of Miranda warnings did cure the failure to administer it the first time: “[i]t’s not a coercion where the actual circumstances are calculated to undermine the suspect’s ability to exercise free will. So I find that the second Miranda warnings does [sic] cure it. Once that happens, then the officer has reasonable articulable suspicion to search the automobile under the automobile search warrantless exception and he does search it and finds the items found in the case. So I’m denying the motion to suppress.” The United States Supreme Court first addressed the issue of whether admissions made in response to police questioning before Miranda warnings have the effect of rendering the same admissions made again after Miranda warnings inadmissible. Wass did not contend that either his pre- or post-Miranda statements were coerced. Therefore the Idaho Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s decisions that the post-Miranda statements were admissible. View "Idaho v. Wass" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the constitutionality of a Mississippi statute, HB 1523, asserting that the state government disapproves of and is hostile to same-sex couples, to unmarried people who engage in sexual relations, and to transgender people. HB 1523 provides that the state government shall not take any discriminatory action against persons who act in accordance with certain beliefs in an enumerated set of circumstances. The district court issued a preliminary injunction against the implementation of HB 1523. The Fifth Circuit reversed the preliminary injunction and rendered a judgment of dismissal for want of jurisdiction, holding that plaintiffs did not have standing. In regard to Establishment Clause injury, the court held that the religious display cases did not provide a basis for standing to challenge the endorsement of beliefs that exist only in the text of a statute. Furthermore, neither the religious exercise cases generally, nor Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000), provide support for plaintiffs' standing. In the alternative, plaintiffs have failed to show an injury in fact. The court also held that plaintiffs did not have taxpayer standing to challenge HB 1523 and the Barber plaintiffs did not have standing under the Equal Protection Clause. View "Barber v. Bryant" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a putative class action under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12132, alleging that the City had systematically failed to comply with federal and state disability access laws, seeking declarative and injunctive relief. Specifically, plaintiff alleged that the City's public right-of-way, pools, libraries, parks, and recreation facilities were not readily accessible to and usable by mobility-impaired individuals. The Ninth Circuit held that the plaintiff class has standing for claims related to all facilities challenged at trial; the district court’s credibility determinations were based on legal errors and its interpretation of the Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) was erroneous; and the district court properly rejected plaintiff's program access claims. Accordingly, the panel affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for reevaluation of the extent of ADAAG noncompliance. View "Kirola v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Sione Lui challenged his conviction for the second degree murder of his fiancee, Elaina Boussiacos. He sought a new trial based on allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, Brady nondisclosure, jury misconduct, and newly discovered evidence. The record showed the trial judge was acutely observant of the courtroom and cautious of possible grounds for ineffective assistance claims. With respect to his other claims, the Washington Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals dismissed each claim as meritless and agreed with denying Lui's request for a reference hearing. View "In re Pers. Restraint of Lui" on Justia Law

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Defendant argued his due process rights were violated when the trial judge initially imposed a sentence of 60 months’ probation on a misdemeanor conviction and on remand imposed a sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment for the same misdemeanor. The sentence was for one conviction out of several that arose out of the same criminal incident. On the other convictions, his initial sentence included 170 months’ imprisonment; on remand, his sentence for the single other conviction was 75 months’ imprisonment. Defendant argued that, in increasing the sentence on his misdemeanor conviction, the judge violated the rule against vindictiveness set out in North Carolina v. Pearce, 395 US 711 (1969) and Oregon v. Partain, 239 P3d 232 (2010). Defendant argued that a presumption of vindictiveness should have applied in his case because there was a “reasonable likelihood” of actual vindictiveness, based on the fact that the same judge imposed the initial and subsequent sentences, and the fact that when analyzed under the remainder aggregate approach, defendant’s second sentence was “more severe” than the first. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded that the mere fact that the same judge presides over an initial and subsequent proceeding does not warrant the presumption of vindictiveness. The Court also rejected defendant’s claim that his later sentence was “more severe” because the trial increased the sentence for one of his convictions: “the correct approach is to compare the aggregate original sentence to the aggregate sentence on remand.” Because defendant’s sentence on remand was not “more severe” than his initial sentence, there was no presumption of an improper motive on the part of the trial judge. Defendant presented no other evidence that the trial court acted vindictively or out of an improper motive when sentencing him on remand. View "Febuary v. Oregon" on Justia Law