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The Supreme Court denied Garland DeCourcy’s petition for writ of prohibition seeking to prohibit the circuit court from proceeding in this action brought by William Williams to recover a computer, telephone system, and keys to a vehicle from DeCourcy. After a bench trial in magistrate court, DeCourcy was ordered to return certain property to Williams. DeCourcy appealed and filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that Williams could not meet his burden of proof because the evidence should be limited to the evidence presented to the magistrate court. The circuit court ruled that a trial de novo authorized it to consider additional evidence, including witness testimony not presented in magistrate court. DeCourcy then filed this petition for writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding (1) an appeal of a civil action tried before a magistrate without a jury under W. Va. Code 50-5-12(b) shall be a trial de novo, meaning a new trial in which the parties may present new evidence including witness testimony not presented in magistrate court; and (2) the circuit court did not err in its determination that new evidence, including witness testimony, was proper in this appeal from magistrate court. View "State ex rel. DeCourcy v. Honorable Jennifer P. Dent" on Justia Law

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After deputies shot and killed David Hensley outside of his home, plaintiffs filed suit against the deputies in their individual and official capacities under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and North Carolina law. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of summary judgment to the deputies based on qualified immunity and state defenses. The court held that a jury could conclude that Hensley never raised his gun, never threatened the deputies, and never received a warning command. Under these circumstances, the deputies were not in any immediate danger and were not entitled to shoot Hensley. Therefore, the deputies were not entitled to qualified immunity. In regard to plaintiffs' state law claims, the district court correctly concluded that plaintiffs' assault claim could proceed as a matter of law. Furthermore, the deputies were not entitled to public official immunity under North Carolina law on plaintiffs' negligent infliction of emotional distress claim because they acted contrary to their duty to use deadly force only when reasonably necessary. View "Hensley v. Price" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants in an action alleging excessive force against Daniel Hammett. Hammett was shot and killed by an officer in a confrontation during the course of executing a warrant. The court held that plaintiff failed to produce evidence that suggested the "split-second judgments" of officers violated the Fourth Amendment as they responded to the "tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving" events of the day. In this case, the actions of Defendant Horsley and Whitener were objectively reasonable and Defendant Mayfield was entitled to summary judgment because his bullet did not strike Hammett. View "Hammett v. Paulding County, Georgia" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s conviction for aggravated assault entered after a jury trial. The district court sentence Appellant to life in prison. The Supreme Court held (1) the prosecutor’s failure to comply with the court’s discovery order constituted misconduct; (2) the district court abused its discretion in denying Appellant’s motion to restrict witness testimony; (3) the prosecutor committed misconduct during closing argument; (4) Appellant was denied due process of law because he was required to wear a leg brace in the presence of the jury; and (5) because of the cumulative effect of these errors, Appellant was denied a fair trial. View "Black v. State" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the District, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-200e-17. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment regarding plaintiff's retaliation claims relating to actions taken prior to October 2007, holding that the district court correctly found not only that he never responded to this portion of the District's motion for summary judgment but also that there was no evidence in the record that he filed any charge of discrimination that would have rendered the claims timely. The court also affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the District on plaintiff's remaining retaliation claims arising out of events occurring after October 2007, holding that a reasonable jury could not infer from the proffered evidence that the challenged employment actions might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination. View "Durant v. District of Columbia Government" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the district court’s order denying Defendant’s second plea in bar asserting a double jeopardy violation. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of attempted first degree sexual assault. The Supreme Court reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial. On remand, the State filed an amended information again charging Defendant with attempted first degree sexual assault, alleging, for the first time, that the victim was mentally or physically incapable of consenting. The district court denied Defendant’s plea in bar. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, concluding that capacity to consent could not be relitigated as to the attempted first degree sexual assault charge. On remand, the State filed a second amended information alleging only that Defendant attempted to subject the victim to penile penetration without her consent. After Defendant filed a motion in limine seeking to prohibit testimony concerning capacity to consent and the court overruled the motion, Defendant filed a second plea in bar. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the second amended information did not place Defendant at risk of double jeopardy, and therefore, the district court was correct in denying his plea in bar. View "State v. Lavalleur" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. The court held (1) the search warrant that authorized police to search for and seize any and all firearms in Defendant’s residence was constitutional because it was sufficiently particular to enable police to know what times they were authorized to search for and seize; and (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting a recording of a telephone conversation that Defendant made to his ex-girlfriend from jail because the risk of unfair prejudice did not substantially outweigh the probative value of those statements. View "State v. Baker" on Justia Law

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Police officer trainee Cornell, off-duty and in street clothes, was running in Golden Gate Park. Uniformed patrol officers spotted him and grew suspicious because the area is known for illicit drug activity. Cornell claims he was unaware of the officers when he heard, “I will shoot you,” and looked behind him to see a dark figure pointing a gun. He darted away, ultimately finding a police officer, who ordered him to the ground. He was arrested at gunpoint and searched, taken in handcuffs to a station, and eventually to a hospital for a drug test, which was negative. Officers searched the areas where he was known to have been, and his truck. After nearly six hours in custody, Cornell was released with a citation for evading arrest. Cornell was never prosecuted but lost his job. Cornell sued. The court determined that Cornell was arrested without probable cause. A jury awarded Cornell $575,242 for tortious interference with economic advantage, and violation of Civil Code section 52.1; the court added $2,027,612.75 in attorney’s fees and costs on the Section 52.1 claim. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting arguments that the jury’s findings did not support the probable cause determination; the court should have declared a mistrial when the jury deadlocked on one question on the special verdict form; the court failed to address an argument that, under Penal Code 847(b), the defendants were immune from false arrest claims; and even if the tort verdict is upheld, the Section 52.1 verdict and awards were based on insufficient evidence. View "Cornell v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ motion for reconsideration of the district court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing all of their claims against various insurance companies and certain of those companies’ employees under 42 U.S.C. 1981 and Puerto Rico law. The complaint alleged that Defendants unlawfully interfered with Plaintiffs’ right to “make or enforce” existing and prospective contracts with Defendants’ insureds or third-party claimants. The district court granted summary judgment on all claims against Defendants. The First Circuit affirmed, largely on waiver grounds, holding (1) Plaintiffs expressly waived certain issues on appeal by failing to raise them in their opening brief; and (2) Plaintiffs’ remaining claims on appeal were unavailing. View "Best Auto Repair Shop, Inc. v. Universal Insurance Group" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the juvenile court adjudicating D.G. and R.G. delinquent for committing aggravated sexual assault. The juvenile court denied the motions filed by D.G. and R.G. to suppress their post-Miranda statements regarding the sexual assault to a detective during an interview, and both interviews with the detective regarding the sexual assault were introduced at trial. D.G. and R.G. appealed, arguing that the juvenile court erred in denying the motion to suppress their post-Miranda statements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Miranda warnings given to D.G. and R.G. were sufficient according to the standards set by this court and the United States Supreme Court; and (2) both D.G. and R.G. knowingly and voluntarily waived their Miranda rights. View "In re R.G." on Justia Law