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The Supreme Court held that the district court did not err in dismissing Defendant’s motion to dismiss the State’s petition to revoke her suspended sentence on the ground that there had been a four-year delay in executing the arrest warrant. In 2009, the district court issued a “Montana only” warrant for the arrest of Defendant, who was on probation. Thereafter, Defendant was convicted of another offense in Colorado, where, several times, Defendant was paroled and then her sentence was revoked. Defendant discharged her Colorado sentences in 2013. That same year, Defendant was arrested on the 2009 warrant. Defendant moved to dismiss the petition to revoke her suspended sentence, arguing that the State violated her right to due process by failing to bring her to court without unnecessary delay. The district court concluded that Defendant had not suffered a deprivation of due process and then determined that Defendant had violated the terms of her original sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss the revocation petition. View "State v. Koon" on Justia Law

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After plaintiff was arrested for flying his glider plane over a nuclear plant, he filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that defendants had violated his civil rights under color of state law, denying him the "freedom of movement, freedom from arrest and detention, and freedom to conduct a lawful activity," in violation of the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff also alleged state law claims of false imprisonment, false arrest, negligence, and civil conspiracy. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment, holding that the district court did not err in determining that the release-dismissal agreement was enforceable and thus plaintiff waived his right to sue the Darlington County Sheriff's Office, the Sheriff, and the deputies; that Duke Energy and its vice president were private actors not operating "under color of" state law as required for liability under section 1983; and plaintiff's state law claims were preempted by federal law's exclusive regulation of nuclear safety. View "Cox v. Duke Energy" on Justia Law

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A plaintiff is entitled to punitive damages under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) where the wrongdoer’s actions amount to willful or wanton negligence, or recklessness, or where there is a “conscious disregard of the rights of others or conduct so reckless as to amount to such disregard.” Plaintiff, a physical therapy aide, sued her former employer and two supervisory employees for sex and pregnancy discrimination under the NYCHRL and Title VII. At trial, the court applied to the NYCHRL the standard for punitive damages found in Title VII. The jury found Defendants liable for pregnancy discrimination and awarded $10,500 in compensatory damages and $50,000 in pain and suffering. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the district court erred in importing the Title VII standard. The Second Circuit certified to the Court of Appeals a question regarding the standard for finding a defendant liable for punitive damages under the NYCHRL. The Court of Appeals answered as set forth above. View "Chauca v. Abraham" on Justia Law

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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