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Upshaw, charged Upshaw with special circumstance murder, was arrested and booked into custody at Santa Rita Jail, then the only Alameda County detention facility for female inmates. Upshaw and her co-defendant, Burks, are housed in Unit 21 because of their gender and “maximum security” classification. There is a “keep separate order” for Burks and Upshaw. Upshaw moved for transfer to a jail in a contiguous county under Penal Code sections 4004 and 4007, arguing that SRJ could not offer her access to rehabilitative programs provided to similarly situated male inmates; her personal safety was at risk; and SRJ could not provide her with adequate access to counsel. Upshaw’s attorney averred the keep separate order precluded Upshaw from participating in work and rehabilitative programs. The prosecutor did not oppose the request. After the sheriff testified, refuting Upshaw’s claims and noting the additional expenses that would result from a transfer, the court denied Upshaw’s request. The court of appeal affirmed. Penal Code section 4004 does not address transfers; section 4007 authorizes a court to transfer a prisoner to a contiguous county upon a showing the current jail is unsafe for confinement but requires the prisoner to exhaust administrative remedies, which Upshaw did not do. View "Upshaw v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions and sentence for crimes related to a multi-state tax fraud scheme using Indigent Inmate, a prisoner "charity" defendant founded and financed. The court held that the district court did not err when it admitted evidence seized from defendant's clothing as well as his post-arrest statements; the district court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted evidence of uncharged conduct and photographs of defendant and another individual with large sums of money; the district court did not violate defendant's right not to wear jail clothes; the district court did not err when it gave the jury a Pinkerton jury instruction; sufficient evidence supported defendant's convictions; and the district court did not err when it calculated defendant's sentencing guidelines range, nor did it impose a substantively unreasonable sentence. View "United States v. Shabazz" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a 28 U.S.C. 2241 petition, but on different grounds. Petitioner was convicted of murdering Eleventh Circuit Judge Robert Vance and sentenced to death. The court held that petitioner had Article III standing to challenge Alabama's exercise of custody given his previously-imposed federal sentences, and that his second claim did not constitute an unauthorized second or successive section 2254 petition. The court held, however, that petitioner's claims failed on the merits. The court's own precedent foreclosed petitioner's substantive assertion that the Alabama execution could not be carried out until the federal sentences of life imprisonment were complete. View "Moody v. Warden Holman CF" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal affirmed the denial of the County's petition for writ of mandate, challenging the suppression of intercepted calls recorded by the sheriff's department in a prior criminal investigation against a sheriff's department detective. During a subsequent civil service commission hearing, the sheriff's department attempted to use the intercepted calls during the administrative proceeding. The court held that the court order did not authorize the disclosure and use of the wiretap evidence at the detective's administrative hearing before the civil service commission. The court also held that the wiretap evidence could not be disclosed and used at the administrative hearing without a court order. The court reasoned that, even if the state statutes relied upon by the County did not require that law enforcement obtain judicial authorization prior to disclosure or use, the County could not satisfy the conditions imposed by the cited statutes. View "County of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for providing and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2339A, and conspiring and attempting to destroy an aircraft of the United States Armed Forces, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 32. Defendant was convicted for acts associated with an attack on an Afghan Border Police post at Camp Leyza. As a preliminary matter, the court held that it had jurisdiction to determine whether defendant qualified as a POW and was entitled to combatant immunity under the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, irrespective of Army Regulation 190-8. On the merits, the court held that defendant was not entitled to combatant immunity under the Convention where the conflict in Afghanistan was not an international armed conflict. Consequently, because defendant did not qualify for combatant immunity pursuant to the Third Geneva Convention, he did not qualify for the common law defense of public authority. The court also held that section 32 clearly applied to otherwise lawful military actions committed during armed conflicts. In this case, defendant was convicted of attempting to fire anti-aircraft weapons at U.S. military helicopters, an attack that fell under the plain language of section 32. View "United States v. Hamidullin" on Justia Law

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In this commitment-extension proceeding the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s order denying J.M.’s motion for post-disposition relief in which J.M. claimed ineffective assistance of counsel. The Court answered (1) J.M. had a statutory right to effective assistance of counsel in his Chapter 41 commitment-extension hearing, and the Strickland standard is the correct standard for evaluating a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in a commitment-extension hearing; (2) J.M. did not show that a reasonable probability existed that the result of the proceeding would have been different had his trial counsel’s performance not been allegedly deficient regarding J.M.’s appearance in prison garb; and (3) J.M. did not establish that he was entitled to a new trial on the ground that his wearing of prison garb during the trial so distracted the jury that justice was miscarried, and the circuit court’s conflicting jury instructions did not entitle J.M. to a new trial in the interest of justice. View "Winnebago County v. J.M." on Justia Law

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In these two consolidated appeals, the Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the court of appeals denying Appellant’s complaints for a writ of mandamus against Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Shannon M. Gallagher. The two appeals here arose out of the same underlying facts. Defendant was convicted on multiple charges. The court of appeals remanded the case several times to correct sentencing errors. After the court of appeals had decided Cowan IV, Defendant filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus alleging that the trial court had failed to comply with the appellate court’s mandate in Cowan II. The court of appeals granted Judge Gallagher’s motion for summary judgment and denied the requested writ. In the second complaint, Defendant alleged that before his initial sentencing the trial court failed to consider whether some of the charged offenses were allied offenses of similar import. The court of appeals granted summary judgment for Judge Gallagher and denied the requested writ based on res judicata. The Supreme Court affirmed in both cases, holding that the court of appeals did not err in its judgments. View "State ex rel. Cowan v. Gallagher" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that Ohio’s death-penalty scheme does not violate the right to a trial by jury as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Appellant was sentenced to death. The court of appeals remanded the case to the trial court for a new penalty-phase trial. On remand, Appellant moved to dismiss the capital specification from his indictment, arguing that Ohio’s death-penalty scheme is unconstitutional under the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida, __ U.S. __ (2016). Hurst invalidated Florida’s former capital-sentencing scheme because it “required the judge alone to find the existence of an aggravating circumstance.” The trial court granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Ohio law requires the critical jury findings that were not required by the law at issue in Hurst, Ohio’s death-penalty scheme does not violate a defendant’s right to a trial by jury as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. View "State v. Mason" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and reversed his conviction of unlawful cultivation of marijuana, holding that the jury instructions on unlawful cultivation were erroneous, and this error created a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice. In addition, the evidence was insufficient to support a finding that Defendant, a medical marijuana patient, exceeded the home cultivation limit. The Court further held (1) there was sufficient probable cause for the search warrant, and Defendant’s motion to dismiss also was properly denied; (2) even if the jury instruction on possession with intent to distribute was in error, it did not create a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice; and (3) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction of possession with intent to distribute beyond a reasonable doubt. View "Commonwealth v. Richardson" on Justia Law

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The absolute prohibition against civilian possession of stun guns under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, 131J violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Defendant was charged with possession of a stun gun, among other crimes. Defendant to dismissed that count of the complaint, arguing that section 131J’s criminal prohibition of the possession of stun guns by civilians violates the Second Amendment. The trial judge denied the motion. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the district court’s order denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss and directed the judge to allow the motion, holding (1) stun guns are “arms” within the protection of the Second Amendment and therefore may be regulated but not absolutely banned; (2) consequently, the absolute prohibition in section 131J that bars all civilians from possessing or carrying stun guns, even in their home, violates the Second Amendment; and (3) section 131J in its current form is facially invalid. View "Ramirez v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law