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While police officers conducted an unlawful search by testing a key in the lock of the unit in which he was staying, the district court properly denied Defendant’s motion to suppress because, in searching the apartment, the officers relied in good faith on a warrant issued to search that unit. The key was seized from Defendant during a search incident to his arrest. The police tried the key on doors to apartments inside a multi-family building outside which Defendant was arrested. The key opened the door to one of the units. When a warrant issued, police searched the unit and discovered a firearm and drugs. The district court denied Defendant’s motion to suppress. Defendant was subsequently convicted drug- and firearm-related crimes. The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s conviction and sentence, holding (1) there was an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, but the exclusionary rule should not apply in this case; (2) the district court did not err in admitting evidence that there was a credit-card-making machine in the unit; and (3) under plain error review, there was no error in the district court’s application of the fifteen-year-mandatory minimum sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act. View "United States v. Bain" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress drugs, a digital scale, and a firearm obtained following a traffic stop of the vehicle in which Defendant was a passenger. In his motion to suppress, Defendant argued that the evidence was obtained through an illegal search and pat-frisk. The district judge denied the motion after an evidentiary hearing, finding that the pat-frisk was warranted. Defendant then pled guilty to possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court, holding that the totality of the circumstances provided a particularized objective basis for the officer’s suspicion that Defendant was armed and dangerous, and therefore, the district court properly denied Defendant’s motion to suppress. View "United States v. Orth" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a suit challenging Rockville's zoning ordinance that prohibited the construction of self-storage facilities within 250 feet of property on which a public school is located. Plaintiffs argued that the enactment amounted to a denial of their due process and equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The court held that Siena did not have a constitutionally protected property interest in using its property to develop a storage facility. The court explained that the very nature of Siena's conditional site plan approval defeated any claim that Siena had a nondiscretionary entitlement to a building permit. Because Siena never satisfied the conditions of obtaining a requisite site plan approval, it was not eligible for a building permit. Even if Siena had a protected property interest here, the enactment of the zoning text amendment would still fall short of a substantive due process violation. In this case, the enactment represented nothing more than the ordinary exercise of a state's residual police power in land use and zoning, in which the state has long maintained a primary and sovereign interest. The court rejected Siena's remaining claims, including the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim, and affirmed the judgment in all respects. View "Siena Corp. v. Mayor and City Council of Rockville" on Justia Law

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After plaintiff was arrested for failing to confine his leafleting to an area designated for protest activities, as set forth in a protocol formulated by Baltimore's legal department in 2004, he filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the protocol. The Fourth Circuit addressed a challenge to the same protocol previously, Ross v. Early, 746 F.3d 546 (4th Cir. 2014), where the court affirmed the district court's decision to uphold the protocol. In this case, the district court dismissed the complaint because the court had already considered the constitutional claim in Ross. The court vacated, holding that, in Ross, the parties entered into a stipulation that dictated the level of constitutional scrutiny, but the parties to the instant case did not. Furthermore, the district court in the instant case did not consider an intervening relevant Supreme Court decision, McCullen v. Coakley, 134 S. Ct. 2518 (2014), and did not have the benefit of another, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 135 S. Ct. 2218 (2015). Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Lucero v. Early" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a petition for habeas relief challenging petitioner's conviction and death sentence for four counts of first degree murder. The panel held that, because petitioner failed to prove that any of the eyewitnesses provided material, false testimony or that the prosecution knew they committed perjury, the state court's rejection of petitioner's Mooney-Napue claims relating to the eyewitnesses was neither contrary to clearly established federal law nor objectively unreasonable; the state court reasonably denied petitioner's claim that certain testimony from non-eyewitnesses was false; the state court reasonably denied petitioner's claims under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963); the state court reasonably denied petitioner's claims relating to the exposure of two eyewitnesses; and the court affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's habeas petition with respect to the Mesarosh claim, lineup card claim, Massiah claim, ineffective assistance of counsel claim, and cumulative error claim. View "Sanders v. Cullen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s grant of qualified immunity to county deputy sheriff James Roark in this action brought by Marilyn Walton pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. In her complaint, Walton alleged a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights when Roark entered Waldron’s home to serve a warrant on Waldron’s grandson. Specifically, Waldron alleged that Roark violated the knock-and-announce rule and that her arrest was unlawful. The district court ultimately granted summary judgment in favor of Roark on the basis that he was entitled to qualified immunity. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Waldron did not meet her burden of showing that Roark violated a clearly established right in any of Waldron’s claims. View "Waldron v. Roark" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, three Laotian correctional officers, filed suit against the County pursuant to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Government Code section 12900 et seq., while simultaneously pursuing their workers' compensation remedies. Administrative law judges denied plaintiffs' claims in separate workers' compensation proceedings. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment for the County, holding that res judicata barred plaintiffs' claims. The court reasoned that, while workers' compensation was not plaintiffs' exclusive remedy, once they elected to pursue that remedy to a final, adverse judgment instead of insisting on the primacy of their rights under the FEHA, the WCAB became the exclusive forum to recover for their injuries. View "Ly v. County of Fresno" on Justia Law

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Dearborn pled guilty to distributing crack cocaine, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) & 846.. In 2015, the Seventh Circuit remanded for correction of certain conditions of supervised release. In a second appeal, Dearborn argued that during resentencing the court should have reconsidered its earlier denial of a motion to suppress evidence. He claimed that, in describing the investigation in the search warrant application, the officer did not inform the warrant judge that one of the controlled buys might have occurred one day later than specified in the search warrant application; the police might have used an unduly suggestive procedure in obtaining an identification of Dearborn from an informant; the informants had criminal histories and received compensation for helping the police; and certain audio and video recordings referred to in the application were of poor quality. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, concluding that Dearborn waived that argument. The court noted that Dearborn did not ask to withdraw his guilty plea and that his arguments “could have been raised earlier” and were irrelevant to the re-sentencing proceedings. Dearborn has not shown that extraordinary circumstances required the district court to reconsider its earlier denial of a Franks hearing. View "United States v. Dearborn" on Justia Law

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A state court's alteration of the number of presentence credits to which a prisoner was entitled under California law constitutes a new, intervening judgment under Wentzell v. Neven, 674 F.3d 1124, 1125 (9th Cir. 2012). The Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of a California state prisoner's habeas corpus petition and remanded for further proceedings. In this case, the amendment to the judgment was clearly a new judgment under Magwood v. Patterson, 561 U.S. 320, 341–42 (2010). The panel explained, so too, with the amendment to petitioner's presentence credits, and thus to his sentence. View "Gonzalez v. Sherman" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, three officers of Latino descent, filed suit against the City and Westminster Police Chiefs, alleging claims of discrimination and retaliation on the basis of race and religion. The jury awarded plaintiffs general and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees and costs. The panel held that the district court properly denied the City's motion for a new trial and renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law on the issue of whether Plaintiff Flores failed to establish his claim of retaliation in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Cal. Gov't Code 12900–12996. In this case, the evidence at trial would permit a trier of fact to conclude he was subjected to adverse employment actions, that his protected conduct was a substantial motivating factor behind the adverse employment actions, and that the City's proffered reasons for its actions were pretextual. Accordingly, the panel affirmed as to this issue and also affirmed the jury's award of damages to Officer Flores on the FEHA retaliation claim. The panel further held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in regard to evidentiary rulings, and the jury's verdict against two police chiefs for race discrimination was not fatally inconsistent. However, the panel vacated the judgment against Chief Mitchell Waller, who died before trial, and remanded to the district court to grant two officers leave to substitute the Chief's estate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(a)(1). View "Flores v. City of Westminster" on Justia Law