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Henderson was indicted for possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute and two related firearms offenses. In accordance with the Marshals Service’s policy in the Springfield Division, Henderson appeared in court for arraignment encircled by four security officers and shackled with leg irons and handcuffs connected to a waist chain. His attorney moved to have him unshackled except for the leg irons for the remainder of the arraignment and at all future pretrial hearings. Counsel argued that routine shackling in court violates the accused’s right to due process and asked the judge to hold a hearing to determine whether Henderson posed an individualized risk to justify the use of full restraints. The judge denied the request, deferring to the Marshals Service’s policy of using full restraints on prisoners at every nonjury court appearance. The Seventh Circuit dismissed an appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the collateral-order doctrine does not apply; due process shackling claims may be effectively reviewed on appeal from a final judgment. The court declined to reframe the appeal as a petition for a writ of mandamus. View "United States v. Henderson" on Justia Law

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DEA agents, with an arrest warrant for Terry, waited for him to return from taking his son to school, arrested him when he got out of his car, and took him in for questioning. Other agents knocked on Terry’s apartment door. A woman answered, wearing a bathrobe. The agents identified themselves, explained that they had arrested Terry, and asked to enter. They did not ask the woman who she was or whether she lived at the apartment. She let them in, signed a consent form, and the search began. The woman then identified herself as the mother of Terry’s son, explaining that her son lived at Terry’s apartment, but she did not. Agents continued the search. At the field office, Terry refused to sign an advice‐of‐rights form, citing his previous experience with law enforcement but stated “he was willing to talk” and made incriminating statements about his role in a conspiracy to distribute heroin. The Seventh Circuit reversed the denial of his motion to suppress. It is not reasonable for officers to assume that a woman who answers the door in a bathrobe has authority to consent to a search of a male suspect’s residence. Terry’s education, sophistication, and familiarity with the criminal justice system provide sufficient evidence that he understood his rights when the agents read them to him and his willingness to speak was a “course of conduct indicating waiver,” notwithstanding his refusal to sign the form. View "United States v. Terry" on Justia Law

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Adkinson and others robbed an Indiana T-Mobile phone store and a Kentucky Verizon store at gunpoint. They later robbed nine additional stores. During its investigation, T-Mobile pulled data from cell sites near two victim stores and determined that only one T-Mobile phone was near both robberies; Adkinson was an authorized user on that account. T-Mobile determined where Adkinson’s phone traveled and voluntarily gave the data to the FBI, which used the information to obtain a court order under the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. 2703, granting the FBI access to additional cell-site data. Adkinson unsuccessfully moved to suppress the evidence obtained without a warrant. The court ruled that T-Mobile was not the government’s agent and, in his user agreement, Adkinson consented to T-Mobile’s cooperation with the government. Adkinson did not timely file a change of venue motion. On the morning of trial, seeing only one African-American prospective juror, Adkinson moved to transfer the case to a venue with “a better pool of African Americans.” Convicted of robbery, brandishing a firearm to further a crime of violence, and conspiracy to commit those crimes, Adkinson was sentenced to 346 months’ imprisonment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The Constitution does not entitle a defendant to a venire of any particular racial makeup and federal law authorized the government to prosecute Adkinson in any district where he offended. The government’s mere receipt of T-Mobile’s data is not a ratification of T-Mobile’s conduct. View "United States v. Adkinson" on Justia Law

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Timothy Nunn was convicted by jury of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was sentenced as a habitual offender to ten years without the possibility of parole or early release. Nunn appealed when the trial court denied his motion for a new trial. Nunn's appellate attorney found no arguable issue to raise an appeal. Finding no reversible error or issue warranting further briefing, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Nunn's conviction and sentence. View "Nunn v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit dismissed defendant's appeal of the district court's denial of his motion to relocate his supervised release under 18 U.S.C. 3605. In this case, defendant was not, and still is not, on supervised release. The court held that neither 28 U.S.C. 1291, 18 U.S.C. 3742(a), nor Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(b) provided it with jurisdiction to review the appeal. The court held that the collateral order doctrine was inapplicable in this case and did not confer appellate jurisdiction. View "United States v. Pittman" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his sentence after he was convicted of conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants and transporting undocumented immigrants. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's imposition of a sentencing enhancement for recklessness under USSG 2L1.1(b)(6) where defendant consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk by crossing a deep part of the Rio Grande river with the immigrants. However, the court reversed the district court's denial of a sentence reduction under USSG 3E1.1 for acceptance of responsibility for the offense where he did not deny the factual elements of his guilt. Accordingly, the court remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Najera" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal modified the opinion and held that section 1170.95 petition procedure is the avenue by which defendants with nonfinal sentences of the type specified in section 1170.95, subdivision (a) must pursue relief, the court was cognizant of the possibility that some defendants may believe themselves able to present a particularly strong case for relief under the changes worked by Senate Bill 1437 and wish to seek that relief immediately rather than await the full exhaustion of their rights to directly appeal their conviction. The court also held that a Court of Appeal presented with such a stay request and convinced it is supported by good cause can order the pending appeal stayed with a limited remand to the trial court for the sole purpose of permitting the trial court to rule on a petition under section 1170.95. View "People v. Martinez" on Justia Law

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In 2002, Thomas and Gregory arranged to buy cocaine from Burdette at a Lexington Waffle House. They got into Burdette’s car, with Thomas in the back seat. Thomas grabbed Burdette from behind, held a gun to his head, and demanded the cocaine. When Burdette refused, Thomas shot him in the leg. Burdette then said the cocaine was across the street with his partner. Thomas shot Burdette three more times. Thomas and Gregory fled. Burdette died. Thomas was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment. The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed. Kentucky courts denied post-conviction relief. Thomas sought habeas corpus relief, claiming that his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge the jury instructions. The district court found the petition untimely. The Sixth Circuit reversed. On remand, the district court denied relief. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that the Kentucky definition of murder violated due process because it prescribes two mental states—intent to kill and extreme indifference to human life—as alternative means for the mens rea element. The fact that the jury needed to find was that Thomas either intended to kill his victim or possessed extreme indifference as to whether he killed him; the jury made that finding, View "Thomas v. Meko" on Justia Law

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James Yancey, a military veteran with no prior criminal history, was caught selling drugs in a school zone. He pled guilty, but asked the trial court for a lenient sentence. The State objected for a drug offender sentencing alternative (DOSA) because the relevant DOSA statute allowed only a prison-based (not residential based) sentence for defendants with a standard range like the one Yancey had. Over the State's objection, the trial court imposed a residential-based DOSA, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Washington Supreme Court found that based on the plain language of the DOSA statute, the trial court lacked jurisdiction to sentence Yancey to a residential-based DOSA. The sentence was vacated and the matter remanded for a new sentencing hearing. View "Washington v. Yancey" on Justia Law

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Michael Gehrke and Christopher Pineyro had a history of conflict; Pineyro died after being stabbed in a streetfight with Gehrke. When police arrived, Gehrke admitted to striking Pineyro, claiming self-defense. Gehrke was originally charged with second degree murder, predicated on second degree assault. Immediately before the State rested its case, the trial court allowed it to amend its charges to include first degree manslaughter. A jury found Gehrke guilty of first degree manslaughter, but not second degree murder. On appeal, Gehrke asked the Washington Supreme Court to vacate his conviction and dismiss with prejudice, arguing the amendment to the charges brought against him violated his constitutional right to be informed of those charges. The Supreme Court agreed with Gehrke, reversed the Court of Appeals and remanded the case to the trial court to vacate Gehrke's conviction, dismissal of first degree manslaughter with prejudice, and for further proceedings. View "Washington v. Gehrke" on Justia Law