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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 action, alleging violation of her constitutional rights when defendants conducted increasingly instrusive body searches. The court held that plaintiff's substantive due process claims were not cognizable with her Fourth Amendment allegations; doctors and nurses were entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff's claim that they violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by detaining her in order to conduct x-ray, pelvic, and rectal exams; because plaintiff did not demonstrate a clearly established right, it follows that her claims for deliberate indifference against the District also failed; the district court did not err by dismissing plaintiff's intentional torts claim against Doctor Solomin; and the district court did not err by declining to grant plaintiff's discovery requests because her claims could not overcome the clearly-established prong of the qualified immunity defense. View "Bustillos v. El Paso County Hospital District" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 action, alleging violation of her constitutional rights when defendants conducted increasingly instrusive body searches. The court held that plaintiff's substantive due process claims were not cognizable with her Fourth Amendment allegations; doctors and nurses were entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff's claim that they violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by detaining her in order to conduct x-ray, pelvic, and rectal exams; because plaintiff did not demonstrate a clearly established right, it follows that her claims for deliberate indifference against the District also failed; the district court did not err by dismissing plaintiff's intentional torts claim against Doctor Solomin; and the district court did not err by declining to grant plaintiff's discovery requests because her claims could not overcome the clearly-established prong of the qualified immunity defense. View "Bustillos v. El Paso County Hospital District" on Justia Law

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A second-in-time collateral claim based on a newly revealed actionable Brady violation is not second-or-successive for purposes of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Consequently, such a claim is cognizable, regardless of whether it meets AEDPA's second-or-successive gatekeeping criteria. The Eleventh Circuit urged the district court to rehear this case en banc in order to reevaluate the framework in Tompkins v. Secretary, Department of Corrections, 557 F.3d 1257 (11th Cir. 2009). The court in Tompkins held that a second-in-time collateral motion based on a newly revealed Brady violation is not cognizable if it does not satisfy one of AEDPA's gatekeeping criteria for second-or-successive motions. The court explained that Tompkins was indistinguishable from the facts and law in this case, but Tompkins was fatally flawed and the rule established in Tompkins eliminated the sole fair opportunity for petitioners to obtain relief. Because the court was bound by Tompkins, the court held that petitioner's 2011 motion was second or successive under 28 U.S.C. 2255(h). View "Scott v. United States" on Justia Law

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A second-in-time collateral claim based on a newly revealed actionable Brady violation is not second-or-successive for purposes of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Consequently, such a claim is cognizable, regardless of whether it meets AEDPA's second-or-successive gatekeeping criteria. The Eleventh Circuit urged the district court to rehear this case en banc in order to reevaluate the framework in Tompkins v. Secretary, Department of Corrections, 557 F.3d 1257 (11th Cir. 2009). The court in Tompkins held that a second-in-time collateral motion based on a newly revealed Brady violation is not cognizable if it does not satisfy one of AEDPA's gatekeeping criteria for second-or-successive motions. The court explained that Tompkins was indistinguishable from the facts and law in this case, but Tompkins was fatally flawed and the rule established in Tompkins eliminated the sole fair opportunity for petitioners to obtain relief. Because the court was bound by Tompkins, the court held that petitioner's 2011 motion was second or successive under 28 U.S.C. 2255(h). View "Scott v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of habeas relief to a petitioner that was convicted of aggravated rape of a child under the age of thirteen. The court held that clearly established Supreme Court precedent demanded proof that the prosecution made knowing use of perjured testimony to establish a constitutional violation. In this case, the district court found no evidence to suggest that the State, or anyone else, knew that the victim was offering false testimony at trial. Therefore, the Louisiana Supreme Court decision denying relief was neither contrary to, nor involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Supreme Court precedent. View "Pierre v. Vannoy" on Justia Law

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Ariz. Rev. Stat. 15-108(A), which makes it unlawful for a person, including a qualified Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) cardholder, to possess or use marijuana on the campus of any public university, college, community college or postsecondary educational institution, violates Arizona’s Voter Protection Act (VPA) with respect to AMMA-compliant marijuana possession or use. Defendant, an AMMA cardholder, was convicted ofpossessing marijuana in his dormitory on the campus of Arizona State University. The Supreme Court vacated the conviction, holding (1) section 15-108(A) is unconstitutional under the VPA because the statute amends the AMMA by re-criminalizing AMMA cardholders’ marijuana possession on public college and university campuses; and (2) therefore, the statute is unconstitutional as applied to Defendant. View "State v. Maestas" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Father’s parental rights to his child pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(iv), holding that Father failed to present a prima facie case of ineffective assistance of counsel and that the record evidence supported the court’s findings and discretionary determinations. On appeal, Father argued that his counsel’s withdrawal two months before the termination hearing amounted to ineffective assistance of counsel. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding that Father did not demonstrate prejudice from counsel’s performance. View "In re Child of Stephen E." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of assault, holding that Defendant was not denied a fair trial because one of the jurors reported that she had felt pressured to return a guilty verdict. After the court informed the parties of the juror’s statement and invited the parties to be heard, the court concluded that there was no evidence of juror misconduct and that the guilty verdict would stand. The Supreme Judicial Court held that Defendant was not deprived of a fair trial because there was no evidence of outside influence, bias, or misconduct, and therefore, the juror’s statement that she felt pressured to return a guilty verdict fell within the categories of evidence prohibited from use by Me. R. Evid. 606(b)(1). View "State v. Leon" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion for a new trial in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action alleging that a police officer used excessive force by slamming plaintiff's head into the bars and wall of his holding cell. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied plaintiff's Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(a) motion for a new trial when it determined that the jury's verdict could be harmonized and thus plaintiff was not entitled to compensatory damages as a matter of law. The court also held that, when attempting to harmonize a seemingly inconsistent verdict, the court was not limited to the specific theories of the case presented by the parties, but may adopt any reasonable view of the case that was consistent with the facts and the testimony adduced at trial. In this case, the jury's causation finding was ambiguous and might have referred only to the de minimus injuries that plaintiff suffered while being forced into the holding cell. View "Ali v. Kipp" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s convictions for unlawful imprisonment in the second degree and abuse of family or household members, holding that the prosecutor’s statements during closing argument amounted to an unwarranted attack on the person character of defense counsel and, by extension, Defendant, and the misconduct warranted vacating Defendant’s convictions. At issue on appeal was the propriety of the prosecutor’s remarks suggesting that opposing counsel attempted to induce the complaining witness to give false testimony during cross-examination. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirmed the judgment, holding that there was no reasonable possibility that the prosecutor’s comment contributed to Defendant’s convictions. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the nature of the prosecution’s remarks during closing argument, the lack of any effective curative instruction, and the relative weight of the evidence, considered collectively, made clear that there was a reasonable possibility that the error might have contributed to Defendant’s convictions; and (2) the improper remarks did not clearly deny Defendant a fair trial, and therefore, the protections of double jeopardy were not implicated. View "State v. Underwood" on Justia Law