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Plaintiff filed suit against State's Attorney Oglesby for violations of his civil rights, and the State of Maryland under Title VII, asserting a vicarious liability claim against Maryland. The Fourth Circuit held that prosecutorial immunity barred plaintiff's claims against Oglesby where the reviewing and evaluating evidence in preparation for trial, making judgments about witness credibility, and deciding which witnesses to call and which cases may be prosecuted all were directly connected to the judicial phase of the criminal process, protected by absolute immunity. The court held, however, that no reasonable employee could believe that Oglesby violated Title VII at the trial-preparation meeting to which plaintiff objected, and thus plaintiff's allegations failed to state a claim under Title VII and should be dismissed. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, and reversed in part, and remanded. View "Savage v. Maryland" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment finding that Officers Martorano and Moton used excessive force in their apprehension and arrest of plaintiff and award of damages to plaintiff. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the deposition testimony of an unavailable medical expert witness where the expert qualified as an expert and had been extensively cross-examined during his deposition, he was unavailable, and defendants had notice; the district court did not err in submitting plaintiff's punitive damage claim to the jury and the award against Moton was supported by substantial evidence; and the district court did not err in denying the officers' Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) motion to deduct from the judgment amount sums plaintiff had received from pretrial settlements with other defendants. View "Fletcher v. Tomlinson" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's judgment against plaintiff in an action alleging that Hughes violated the California Disabled Persons Act (DPA). Plaintiff alleged that under the DPA, the store was obliged to designate an accessible path of travel from the street to the store’s entrance that did not require wheelchair-bound patrons to travel behind parked vehicles. The court found no error in the trial court's conclusion that the 2013 CBSC standards applied to all the incidents identified in the first amended complaint; under the 2013 CBSC standards, Hughes was not required to provide an accessible route that did not pass behind parked cars for persons using wheelchairs; and the trial court did not err by determining that plaintiff failed to plead a signage-based claim. View "Baskin v. Hughes Realty, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant, after a jury trial, of murdering James Madden and sentencing Defendant to death. On appeal, Defendant raised a number of issues, most of which focused on purported errors made by the trial court. Defendant also took issue with the Supreme Court’s decision not to supplement the appellate record with the trial transcripts of his codefendants and also challenged the constitutionality of California’s death penalty scheme. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in its entirety, holding that there was no reversible error in this case. View "People v. Spencer" on Justia Law

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In 1995, a Pennsylvania jury found Abdul-Salaam guilty of first-degree murder, robbery, and conspiracy. After a one-day penalty phase hearing in which Abdul-Salaam’s counsel presented three mitigation witnesses, the jury sentenced Abdul-Salaam to death. Abdul-Salaam, after exhausting his state remedies, filed a federal petition for habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. 2254, challenging his sentence, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to investigate adequately and to present sufficient mitigation evidence at sentencing. The Third Circuit reversed the denial of relief. Trial counsel could not have had a strategic reason not to investigate Abdul-Salaam’s background, school, and juvenile records, to acquire a mental health evaluation, or to interview more family members about his childhood abuse and poverty, counsel’s performance was deficient. There is a reasonable probability that the un-presented evidence would have caused at least one juror to vote for a sentence of life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. Abdul-Salaam has met the prejudice prong of the ineffective assistance of counsel inquiry. View "Abdul-Salaam v. Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of summary judgment to a police officer based on qualified immunity in an action brought by plaintiff under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the officer applied excessive force when he brought plaintiff to the ground. The court held that, viewed in a light most favorable to plaintiff, the facts gave rise to a question of unreasonable and excessive force for the ultimate finder of fact. In this case, plaintiff neither posed a threat to anyone's safety nor resisted arrest at the time that the officer executed the arm-bar takedown, and therefore his right to be free from unreasonable and excessive force was violated. Furthermore, the right was clearly established at the time. View "Neal v. Ficcadenti" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for felony possession of anabolic steroids found in a search of his vehicle. On appeal, Defendant challenged the denial of his motion to suppress the drugs found in his vehicle, arguing (1) the peace officer lacked probable cause to stop Defendant; (2) the peach officer lacked subsequent reasonable suspicion to detain; (3) the canine drug sniff while inside Defendant’s vehicle constituted an illegal search and seizure; and (4) the peace officer did not have additional probable cause to search absent the illegal dog sniff. The Supreme Court held that (1) because Appellant failed to present the district court with his arguments about probable cause for the stop or reasonable suspicion to continue his attention, these claims will not be considered on appeal; and (2) the circumstances established probable cause to search Defendant’s vehicle, even before the dog indicated there were drugs in the trunk. View "Pier v. State" on Justia Law

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Defendant’s convictions for aggravated assault, attempted sexual battery, and burglary with an assault or battery, which arose during a single criminal episode, did not violate the prohibition against double jeopardy. The Fourth District Court of appeal held that because burglary with an assault or battery does not necessarily include an aggravated assault or attempted sexual battery, Defendant’s convictions did not violate the prohibition against double jeopardy. The Supreme Court approved the decision below and disapproved conflicting decisions to the extent that they conflicted with this opinion, holding that Defendant’s convictions were different offenses, prohibited by different statutes, and criminalized different conduct, and therefore, the convictions did not violate the prohibition against double jeopardy. View "Tambriz-Ramirez v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s conviction and sentence for possessing a controlled substance (methamphetamine), holding that the circuit court erred by denying Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained from an illegal search and seizure. On appeal, Defendant argued that the search of his person violated the United States Constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. The State did not obtain a warrant to search Defendant but argued that the search was valid as an investigatory stop under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) because the State failed to identify a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, Defendant’s search and seizure could not be justified under Terry; and (2) the consent exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement did not apply in this case. View "State v. Kaline" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging, among other things, that the initial bite from a police dog and the continued biting were excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The district court dismissed the initial bite claim on a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion and denied summary judgment to the officer. The Fifth Circuit held that there was no Fourth Amendment violation because the totality of the circumstances and the Graham factors established that the officer's use of force was not objectively unreasonable. In this case, police were chasing plaintiff after he assaulted his wife, they were informed that they would have to kill plaintiff to get him, he had a knife, and was bitten by the dog until he was fully handcuffed by the police. Therefore, the court reversed the denial of qualified immunity to the officer. The court dismissed the cross-appeal for lack of jurisdiction and remanded. View "Escobar v. Montee" on Justia Law