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Facing the possibility of two life sentences, Schneider pleaded guilty to sexually abusing his minor daughter, 18 U.S.C. 2243(a)(1). The court warned Schneider five times that it could impose a sentence as high as 15 years’ imprisonment and that if the guidelines range turned out to be “closer to five years or above,” that, alone, would not be a reason for Schneider to withdraw his guilty plea. Schneider said he understood; the district court accepted his plea. After a change in appointed lawyers, Schneider unsuccessfully moved to withdraw his plea following the release of the PSR, which recommended that Schneider receive a five-level upward adjustment as a “repeat and dangerous sex offender against minors,” U.S.S.G. 4B1.5. The district court sentenced him below the guidelines range to 96 months’ imprisonment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that his plea was involuntary. Schneider filed a collateral challenge, arguing that his trial lawyer was ineffective for advising him that he met the statutory elements of the offense of sexual abuse of a minor and for not explaining that his prior conduct could be considered during sentencing. The Seventh Circuit affirmed denial of relief, noting Schneider’s efforts to get his daughter to recant, and the testimony of his first attorney about his statements to Schneider. The district court’s findings on direct appeal are the law of the case; Schneider’s claims are implausible. View "Schneider v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court declined Appellants’ invitation to depart from the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523 (1967) and hold that Minnesota’s constitution requires that an administrative search warrant be supported by probable cause of the sort required in a criminal investigation. Camara held that an administrative warrant satisfies the probable cause requirement if reasonable legislative or administrative standards for conducting an unconsented-to rental housing inspection are satisfied with respect to a particular dwelling. In this case, the City of Golden Valley petitioned the district court for an administrative search warrant to search rental property for compliance with the city code. The district court denied the petition for the administrative search warrant, concluding that the issuance of such a search warrant was foreclosed without suspicion of a code violation. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Minnesota Constitution does not require individualized suspicion of a code violation to support an administrative search warrant for a rental housing inspection. View "City of Golden Valley v. Wiebesick" on Justia Law

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The Alger County, Michigan dispatch center received a report that Mitchell had assaulted “Kevin,” had been drinking, and was “swerving all over the road.” Officer Schlabach identified Mitchell’s car, followed it into a parking lot, and stopped alongside. Mitchell sped back onto the highway. Schlabach pursued Mitchell through residential neighborhoods, around cars, and through stop signs, often in excess of 100 miles per hour in pouring rain. Minutes later, Mitchell ran his car into a ditch in a national forest. Schlabach parked 63.6 feet from Mitchell’s car. Mitchell exited the car, looked toward Schlabach, then turned away and crouched toward the ground. Mitchell appeared to be unarmed. Schlabach drew his handgun and slowly approached Mitchell. Mitchell walked toward Schlabach with “[c]lenched fists, wide eyes, coming directly ... towards me, ... refusing to listen to any of my direct commands.” The dash-cam video did not clearly show Mitchell’s facial expressions but left “little room to doubt the hostility of Mitchell’s approach” even after Schlabach began backing away in fear. Mitchell pressed Schlabach all the way across the road. Schlabach fired a shot. Mitchell hunched over slightly but continued moving purposefully toward Schlabach. Schlabach fired again. Mitchell collapsed and died. The Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment of qualified immunity in favor of Schlabach, noting that the confrontation took less than 20 seconds. Courts must make an “allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments.” View "Mitchell v. Schlabach" on Justia Law

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Perry conditionally pled guilty to conspiring to possess narcotics with intent to distribute. On appeal, Perry argued that the activities indicating drug sales that were observed over the seven weeks before the issuance of the search warrant were stale evidence because the activities were not individually dated. The Sixth Circuit affirmed denial of his motion to suppress. Even without specific dates, the amount of suspicious activity observed within the seven weeks in connection with Perry’s apartment was enough to support probable cause. The court noted several complaints from concerned residents about drug sales being conducted in the apartment complex and in a black Chevrolet Impala and naming Perry and his girlfriend as the sellers; Perry had several prior drug charges; an officer observed Perry exchange money and packages, which appeared to contain marijuana, at a fence; the officer observed multiple additional transactions involving Perry and his girlfriend that appeared to be drug transactions. The officer stated that his observations occurred between October 15 and December 3—two to 51 days before the probable-cause determination; his observations of heavy car and foot traffic, repeated transactions, and one particular transaction, all suggested that apartment four was home to a sizeable ongoing drug business. View "United States v. Perry" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff owned and lived on a 400-acre estate and horse farm in Barrington Hills, Illinois, leasing the horse farm, “Horizon Farms,” to their company, Royalty Farms, LLC, which managed the farm’s operations. Their mortgage was foreclosed in 2013. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County bought the property at the foreclosure sale. Royalty Farms was not a party to the foreclosure proceeding, but the court entered a Dispossession Order, directing Plaintiff to vacate the property. The Forest Preserve District apparently tolerated the continued presence of several horses while plaintiff continued visiting the property daily to care for them. After nine months Plaintiff was arrested and prosecuted for criminal trespass. She was acquitted because the judge could not conclusively determine that she had been told not to enter the property. A year later she filed suit, claiming false arrest and malicious prosecution. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit. Regardless of whether Plaintiff entered the property as an employee of Royalty Farms, there was probable cause to arrest Plaintiff for criminal trespass; she acknowledged receiving an emailed warning and defying it and she was aware of the court order. View "Squires-Cannon v. Forest Preserve District of Cook County" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, employed as a police officer with the city, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violation of his First Amendment rights when the city and the mayor arranged for plaintiff's termination based on plaintiff's support of a purported political enemy. The Eleventh Circuit reversed summary judgment for defendants and held that plaintiff did not voluntarily leave his employment with the city but rather was effectively terminated. Because a reasonable jury could conclude that plaintiff's resignation was not a product of his free will, plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to establish that he suffered an adverse employment action when his employment with the city ended abruptly. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Rodriguez v. City of Doral" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment in favor of defendants, agreeing with plaintiff that the district court wrongly instructed the jury that "but for" causation applied to Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims. The court held that FMLA retaliation claims of the sort plaintiff brought here were grounded in 29 U.S.C. 2615(a)(1) and a "motivating factor" causation standard applied to those claims. The court also held that the district court exceeded the bounds of its discretion in admitting and permitting the adverse inferences to be drawn in this case. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Woods v. START Treatment & Recovery Centers" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's determination that plaintiff asserted claims only under federal law, its dismissal of claims against the individual defendants, and its dismissal of plaintiff's hostile work environment claim. At issue in this appeal was whether a pro se litigant forfeits her claims under New York state and local discrimination law where she has alleged facts supporting such claims, but fails to check a blank on a form complaint indicating that she wishes to bring them. The court held that such a bright-line rule runs counter to the court's policy of liberally construing pro se submissions, and that plaintiff's complaint in this case should have been read by the district court to assert claims under New York state and local discrimination law as well as under federal law. The court addressed the balance of plaintiff's claims on appeal in a summary order issued simultaneously with this opinion, and remanded for further proceedings. View "McLeod v. The Jewish Guild for the Blind" on Justia Law

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The placement of a suspect in the front seat of a police vehicle during a traffic stop is not alone determinative of whether the suspect has been subjected to a custodial interrogation. In this case, a state highway patrol trooper initiated a traffic stop of Defendant. The trooper asked Defendant to step out of his car and sit in the front seat of the patrol car, where the trooper asked Defendant how much alcohol he had consumed that evening. The trooper then asked Defendant to perform field sobriety tests. Defendant was subsequently cited with two counts of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. Defendant filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the statements he made to the trooper while he sat in the front seat of the patrol car were obtained without the procedural safeguards established in Miranda v. Arizona. The court granted the motion to suppress. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the relevant inquiry as to whether a suspect has been subjected to a custodial interrogation is whether, under the totality of the circumstances, a reasonable person in the suspect’s position would have understood himself or herself to be in custody. View "Cleveland v. Oles" on Justia Law

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In 2007, plaintiff filed with the EEOC a charge of race and disability discrimination against her employer, the school board. In 2009, the Commission dismissed the charge and provided her notice of her right to sue within 90 days, but plaintiff failed to file within that period. Instead, in 2011, plaintiff filed a request for reconsideration with the Commission, which then vacated the dismissal of her first charge. The DOJ then granted plaintiff's request for a new notice of her right to sue about the same allegations of discrimination, and she filed suit within 90 days of the second notice. The district court then dismissed the complaint as untimely. The Fourth Circuit affirmed, holding that the Commission lacked the authority to issue the second notice of the right to sue and thus plaintiff failed to establish she was entitled to equitable tolling. View "Stamper v. Duval County School Board" on Justia Law