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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

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In this appeal from an order entered on Defendant’s postconviction motion to vacate his conviction of first-degree murder and sentence of death and related convictions and sentences, the Supreme Court reversed the portion of the postconviction court’s order granting Defendant a new guilt phase but affirmed the portions of the postconviction court’s order granting Defendant a new penalty phase. The court held that the postconviction court (1) erred in granting relief on Defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claims regarding the voluntariness and reliability of Defendant’s written statement to the police detailing his involvement in the victim’s death and trial counsel’s guilt phase investigation; and (2) did not err in finding that trial counsel was ineffective for failing adequately to investigate and prepare for the penalty phase. As to Defendant’s cross-appeal, the Supreme Court held that the postconviction court (1) did not err to the extent that it denied four of Defendant’s postconviction claims; and (2) did not err in declining to conduct a cumulative error analysis. View "State v. Morrison" on Justia Law

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In 2008, Yeoman attempted to fire a gun during an attempted robbery. He was apprehended minutes later. Yeoman pled “no contest” to attempted first-degree intentional homicide and is serving a 25-year sentence in a Wisconsin prison. On appeal he argued that police lacked reasonable suspicion to stop Yeoman’s car, that the officers failed to honor Yeoman’s invocation of his right to remain silent, and that the searches of his car and his person were unreasonable. Before filing his federal petition for habeas corpus relief, he exhausted some but not all of his claims in the Wisconsin courts. In state habeas proceedings, he had not raised claims that his post‐conviction lawyer was ineffective. In federal district court, Yeoman requested a stay, to hold his petition in abeyance so that he could return to state court and exhaust his remedies there. The court declined to enter the stay after concluding that Yeoman lacked good cause. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, agreeing that, although Yeoman’s claims were not plainly meritless, and he had not engaged in abusive litigation tactics or intentional delay, Yeoman’s strategic decision, based on a misapprehension of the law, did not constitute good cause for failure to exhaust. View "Yeoman v. Pollard" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals regarding its ruling on the law of the case doctrine but affirmed its judgment regarding its rulings on the admission of certain strip search evidence and Defendant’s conviction for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. Defendant was indicted for possession with the intent to distribute. Prior to trial, Defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence from a strip search. The circuit court granted the motion to suppress the evidence recovered from the strip search on the grounds that it violated Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. The court of appeals reversed the grant of the motion to suppress. After Defendant was convicted, he appealed. The court of appeals concluded (1) its review of its ruling on the motion to suppress and the constitutionality of the strip search was precluded by the law of the case doctrine; and (2) the evidence was sufficient to uphold Defendant’s conviction. Although the Supreme Court held (1) the court of appeals was authorized to reconsider the constitutionality of the strip search and the admissibility of the strip search evidence on direct appeal; and (2) the court of appeals’ did not err in its rulings on the admission of the strip search evidence and Defendant’s conviction. View "Cole v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a federal inmate, filed suit under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging retaliation after he filed a grievance expressing safety concerns following several power outages at the prison. The district court dismissed plaintiff's claims. The Fifth Circuit vacated in part, holding that plaintiff alleged facts that supported plausible claims of retaliation and conspiracy. The court remanded those claims for further proceedings. The court affirmed as to the remaining claims. View "Brunson v. Nichols" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit withdrew its prior opinion and issued this opinion in its place. The court affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's 28 U.S.C. 2254 habeas petition and held that the state court's denial of his Brady claim was entitled to deference under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and that the state court's denial was neither an unreasonable determination of the facts nor an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law. View "Rimmer v. Secretary, FL DOC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Mary Anna Whitehall worked as a social worker for the San Bernardino County Children and Family Services (CFS or the County). She sought legal advice pertaining to any liability she might have for submitting misleading information and doctored photographs to the juvenile court at the direction of her superiors. Her counsel prepared a filing; subsequently plaintiff was immediately placed on administrative leave for disclosing confidential information to an unauthorized person. Upon being informed she would be terminated for the breach, plaintiff resigned her position and filed a whistle blower action against the County. The County filed a special motion to strike the complaint as an Anti-SLAPP action, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, which was denied by the trial court. The County appealed. On appeal, the County argued the trial court erred in determining plaintiff had established the second prong of the criteria to overcome a special motion to strike an Anti-SLAPP lawsuit by finding a likelihood she would prevail because the County’s actions were not privileged or covered by governmental immunity. Finding no reversible error, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "Whitehall v. County of San Bernardino" on Justia Law

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Golla, who has a law degree, alleged, under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(a)(1) and 42 U.S.C. 1983, that the Office of the Chief Judge engaged in intentional reverse racial discrimination by paying Taylor, an African‐American male, a significantly higher salary than Golla, a white male, despite working in the same department and performing the same duties under essentially the same title. Golla started working in the Office in 1983. He was fired in 1995 but reinstated 10 months after he filed a complaint with the EEOC. Under a settlement agreement, Golla was reinstated at a pay position and title, Law Clerk I, which he retained until he resigned in 2013. When asked during his deposition whether anyone in the workplace made racial comments toward him, Golla answered, "nothing direct racial." He claimed his African-American supervisor made comments that were demeaning. The district court rejected Golla’s claim, finding no direct evidence of reverse racial discrimination that resulted in the pay disparity and that Golla failed to establish a prima facie case of reverse racial discrimination under the indirect method of proof. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The evidence as a whole was insufficient for a reasonable jury to conclude that Golla was paid at a lower pay grade than Taylor because of his race View "Golla v. Office of the Chief Judge of Cook County" on Justia Law