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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of felony resisting, holding that the challenged instruction in this case potentially misled the jury as an incorrect statement of law but that the jury charge, as a whole, cured the instructional defect. Specifically, the Court held (1) Defendant did not invite the alleged instructional error; (2) the challenged instruction misstated the mens rea and threatened to mislead the jury, and therefore, the use of the instruction is disapproved of going forward; but (3) the jury charge provided adequate instructions on the correct statutory elements and standard of proof, and the instructional defect was harmless. The Court then summarily affirmed Defendant’s convictions for felony battery and misdemeanor resisting, holding that Defendant failed to explain how instructional error affected his felony battery and misdemeanor resisting convictions. View "Batchelor v. State" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of one count of unauthorized use of personal identifying information, Penal Code section 530.5(a); four counts of fraudulent possession of personal identifying information with a prior conviction, section 530.5(c)(2); one count mail theft, section 530.5(e); and one count of second-degree commercial burglary, section 459. No evidence was introduced indicating that the value of any of the personal information or property in question exceeded $950; in most instances, the evidence showed the value to be less than that amount. The Attorney General acknowledged that the burglary conviction must be reduced to shoplifting under Proposition 47, new section 459.5(a), The court of appeal noted that the California Supreme Court has cases pending regarding the proper classification of section 530.5(a) offenses but concluded that all of the defendant’s convictions must be reduced to misdemeanors. Proposition 47, section 490(a) provides that “obtaining any property by theft where the value of the money, labor, real or personal property taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) shall be considered petty theft and shall be punished as a misdemeanor.” There was no evidence that the value of any of the personal identifying information defendant unlawfully obtained or used exceeds $950. View "People v. Chatman" on Justia Law

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Mother Jane Doe appealed a magistrate court’s termination of her parental rights to her child T.G.E. At the time she gave birth, Mother had pending felony drug charges and an active warrant for her arrest; the child’s umbilical cord tested positive for methamphetamine at birth. Following a termination hearing, the magistrate court found termination proper based on neglect and entered an order to that effect on December 8, 2017 (the Order). However, in a subsequent decree (the Decree) issued on December 15, 2017, the magistrate court stated Mother’s parental rights were being terminated based on abandonment. The court also terminated Father’s parental rights however, Father had voluntarily relinquished his parental rights and was not a party to this appeal. On appeal, both Mother and the Department raised procedural issues relating to the conflicting Order and Decree. Subsequently, the Idaho Supreme Court remanded the case for entry of a new judgment terminating Mother and Father’s rights to Child, and stated the Order would constitute the findings of fact and conclusions of law. Mother appealed, contenting the magistrate court erred when it terminated Mother’s parental rights. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the ultimate termination. View "DHW v. Jane Doe" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) reinstating certain criminal charges dismissed by the circuit court based on the statute of limitations, holding that there were questions of fact regarding the statute of limitations applicable to those counts that must be determined by the factfinder, and therefore, the circuit court erred by dismissing those charges. The circuit court dismissed all six counts of theft filed against Defendant on the grounds that the felony information was filed after any extension of the three-year statute of limitations based on Haw. Rev. Stat. 701-108(3)(a) had expired. The ICA reinstated three of those counts. The Supreme Court affirmed as further clarified by this opinion, holding (1) the ICA did not err in holding that prosecutorial discretion allowed the three counts to be charged as separate offenses, and there were questions of fact regarding the statute of limitations applicable thereto; and (2) the ICA erred in holding that the earliest date of discovery for the three counts was September 5, 2013. View "State v. Pitolo" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences, holding that the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) statutory scheme, Ariz. Rev. Stat. 36-2901 to -2999.57, abrogates and creates an exception to Arizona’s statutory physician-patient privilege, Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-4062(4), in cases of suspected AHCCCS fraud. Defendant was convicted of defrauding AHCCCS for lying about having cancer so her abortion would fall within the exception to the rule that AHCCCS does not cover abortions except when necessary to save a woman’s life or to protect her health. On appeal, Defendant argued that the superior court erred by admitting her medical records and by allowing her physicians to testify against her. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the AHCCCS statutes abrogated the physician-patient privilege in cases of suspected AHCCCS fraud. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the legislature’s grant of brand authority to AHCCCS to investigate suspected fraud necessarily implies an exception to the privilege for internal AHCCCS investigations and proceedings; and (2) the AHCCCS statutes implicitly abrogate the privilege in the criminal investigation and prosecution of suspected AHCCCS fraud because the provisions at issue exhibit an intent to provide law enforcement access to patient information when investigating and prosecuting AHCCCS fraud. View "State v. Zeitner" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's order compelling Papalote to arbitrate a dispute raised by the Authority over whether their contractual agreements limited the Authority's liability to $60 million. In this case, the arbitration clause required Papalote and the Authority to arbitrate any dispute that arose with respect to either party's performance. The court held that the dispute at issue was an interpretative dispute, not a performance dispute, and was therefore outside the scope of the arbitration clause. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Papalote Creek II, LLC v. Lower Colorado River Authority" on Justia Law

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Lee was a member of the Summit County Council. The FBI obtained wiretaps and investigated the relationship between Lee and Abdelqader, a store owner, after complaints that Abdelqader “was insisting on monthly cash payments from other local businesses” that he would give to Lee in exchange for political favors. Abdelqader’s nephews were arrested for felonious assault. Abdelqader called Lee for help; they discussed Lee’s financial problems. Abdelqader promised that they would “work it out.” Lee placed calls to the juvenile court bailiff and the judicial assistant; Lee subsequently deposited 200 dollars in her bank account and placed calls to the judge who was handling the case. Lee also took payment for attempting to intervene in an IRS investigation. The Sixth Circuit affirmed Lee’s convictions on four counts of conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud, honest services mail fraud, Hobbs Act conspiracy, and Hobbs Act extortion, 18 U.S.C. 1341, 1343, 1346, 1349, and 1951 and two counts concerning obstruction of justice and false statements to law enforcement, 18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2); 18 U.S.C. 1001 and her 60-month sentence. The court rejected challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence and to the sufficiency of her indictment in light of the Supreme Court’s 2016 “McDonnell” decision. At a minimum, the indictment supports an inference that Lee agreed to perform an official act or pressure or advise other officials to perform official acts in exchange for gifts or loans from Abdelqader. View "United States v. Lee" on Justia Law

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The State of Colorado charged James Garner for a shooting at a bar that injured three brothers. The State’s case depended on the brothers’ live identifications of Garner at trial, almost three years later. None of them could identify Garner in a photo array at the police station. The issue this case presented for the Colorado Supreme Court’s review centered on whether, in the circumstances of this case, Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. 199 (1972) required the trial court to assess the reliability of the brothers’ first-time in-court identifications before allowing them in front of the jury. The Colorado Court held that where an in-court identification is not preceded by an impermissibly suggestive pretrial identification procedure arranged by law enforcement, and where nothing beyond the inherent suggestiveness of the ordinary courtroom setting made the in-court identification itself constitutionally suspect, due process did not require the trial court to assess the identification for reliability under Biggers. Because Garner alleged no impropriety regarding the pretrial photographic arrays, and the record revealed nothing unusually suggestive about the circumstances of the brothers’ in-court identifications, the in-court identifications did not violate due process. Furthermore, the Court held Garner’s evidentiary arguments were unpreserved and that the trial court’s admission of the identifications was not plain error under CRE 403, 602, or 701. View "Garner v. Colorado" on Justia Law

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After defendant pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, the district court sentenced him under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), based on defendant's prior Arkansas conviction for kidnapping and two prior convictions for serious drug offenses. The court reversed and remanded, holding that Arkansas Code 5-11-102, the statute that criminalizes kidnapping, did not qualify as a violent felony, because it was overbroad and indivisible. In this case, the nefarious purposes listed in subsections (a)(1) through (a)(7) were means, not elements. Therefore, defendant did not have the three predicate offenses to be sentenced under the ACCA. View "United States v. Coleman" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that defendant's three prior felony convictions under Arkansas Code 5-64-401 qualified as serious drug offenses under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). Although the government conceded that the version of the Arkansas statute in effect at the time of defendant's convictions was overbroad, the statute was divisible where defendant was convicted under subsection (a), which criminalizes manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with intent to deliver controlled substances. Therefore, the district court did not commit error, plain or otherwise, in sentencing defendant under the ACCA. View "United States v. Meux" on Justia Law