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Kanter pleaded guilty to mail fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1341, based on his submission of bills to Medicare for non-compliant therapeutic shoes and shoe inserts. Due to his felony conviction, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm under both federal and Wisconsin law, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1) and Wis. Stat. 941.29(1m). He challenged those felon dispossession statutes under the Second Amendment, as applied to nonviolent offenders. The Seventh Circuit affirmed judgment upholding the laws. Even if felons are entitled to Second Amendment protection, so that Kanter could bring an as-applied challenge, the government met its burden of establishing that the felon dispossession statutes are substantially related to an important government interest in preventing gun violence. Congress and the Wisconsin legislature are entitled to categorically disqualify all felons—even nonviolent felons like Kanter—because both have found that such individuals are more likely to abuse firearms. The “bright line categorical approach … allows for uniform application and ease of administration.” View "Kanter v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court denying Defendant’s motion to suppress and sentencing Defendant, holding that the evidence was not obtained in violation of Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights and that Defendant was properly sentenced. Defendant was convicted for producing six videos depicting him sexually assaulting a three-year-old child. Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence recovered from his residence and statements he made to law enforcement at his residence and during a later interrogation. The district court concluded that Defendant knowingly and voluntarily consented to the search of his residence and that there was no Fourth Amendment violation. At sentencing, Defendant argued that the charges were multiplicitous because the videos were taken during one continuous sexual assault. The district court disagreed and sentenced Defendant to a fifty-year term of imprisonment. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) even assuming that law enforcement committed a Fourth Amendment violation before encountering Defendant, any prior illegality did not influence Defendant’s subsequent consent to the search of his computer and hard drives, and Defendant’s consent to the search was knowing and voluntary; and (2) the proper unit of prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 2251(a), the federal child pornography statute, is each video depicting the victim. View "United States v. Smith" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions for bank robbery and denied his motions to suppress evidence. The panel held that the district court correctly held that the search of defendant's trunk was a lawful parole search where defendant's uncontested control over the car was sufficient to permit a warrantless search of its trunk and, in any event, his conduct also illustrated a sufficiently close nexus to the trunk itself where officers observed him putting things inside the trunk. The panel also held that the warrantless placement of a GPS tracker on the car of defendant, a parolee, did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Furthermore, cell site location information (CSLI) acquired before Carpenter v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 2206 (2018), was admissible under the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule so long as the government satisfied the Stored Communications Act's then-lawful requirements. In this case, the government reasonably relied on the Act when it obtained defendant's CSLI information. Therefore, the panel affirmed the district court's application of the Fourth Amendment's good faith exception. View "United States v. Korte" on Justia Law

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In this appeal from the grant of Defendant’s motion to suppress, the Supreme Court Court adopted the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule set forth by the United States Supreme Court in Herring v. United States, 555 U.S. 135 (2009), but nevertheless affirmed the decision to suppress the evidence, holding that neither of Defendant’s arrests fell within the good-faith exception. A police officer arrested Defendant without a warrant because he was on a list of individuals who had been barred from housing authority property. Upon performing a search incident to arrest, the officer seized marijuana from Defendant. Almost three weeks later, the same officer again arrested Defendant on the same property based on the same list and again seized marijuana from Defendant. When it was discovered that the list was incorrect and that Defendant’s name should have been removed before he was arrested, the trial court suppressed the evidence in both cases. The court of criminal appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) it is appropriate at this point to adopt the good-faith exception set forth in Herring; but (2) the facts of this case did not support application of the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule. View "State v. McElrath" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant of second-degree murder, holding that the circuit court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of first-degree manslaughter. On appeal, Defendant argued that the circuit court abused its discretion by refusing to instruct the jury on first- and second-degree manslaughter and that there was insufficient evidence in the record to support his conviction of second-degree murder. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the evidence entitled Defendant to an instruction on first-degree manslaughter. The Court remanded for a new trial on the issue of jury instructions for lesser-included offenses. View "State v. Swan" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court denying without an evidentiary hearing Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief, holding that the district court did not err in denying postconviction relief without holding an evidentiary hearing. Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony. In his postconviction motion, Appellant alleged that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance. The district court denied the motion without a hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that counsel provided effective assistance and that the district court did not err in denying Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief without an evidentiary hearing. View "State v. Martinez" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's contempt finding and injunction related to the BOP's calculation of sentencing credits for federal prisoners. The court held that the district court made no explicit factual findings to support its decision to hold the BOP in contempt, nor did it identify which specific court orders the BOP violated. The district court abused its discretion, and the court could not identify any evidence in the record to support the conclusion that the BOP violated a definite and specific court order. Even if there was no error in holding the BOP in content, the court held that the sanction the district court imposed was contrary to law. The court held that, given the district court’s lack of authority over credit awards, it was improper to order the BOP to deny custody credits required by statute. Furthermore, the district court’s error was compounded by its threat to hold BOP officials in individual contempt for fulfilling their statutory duties. View "In re: U.S. Bureau of Prisons" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the school district in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action alleging that the district violated a student and his parents' First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process rights when it expelled the student for one year. The student was expelled for creating a hit list of students that "must die." Under the circumstances of this case, including the nature of the hit list, the student's access to firearms, and the close proximity of the student's home to the high school, the decision to discipline the student for his off-campus speech did not violate his constitutional right to free speech. The panel clarified that courts considering whether a school district may constitutionally regulate off-campus speech must determine, based on the totality of the circumstances, whether the speech bears a sufficient nexus to the school. The panel stated that there is always a sufficient nexus between the speech and the school when the school district reasonably concludes that it faces a credible, identifiable threat of school violence. Furthermore, a student's lack of intent to convey his off-campus speech to any third party is relevant to an evaluation of whether the speech constitutes a credible threat, but is not dispositive. In this case, taken as a whole, the considerations that guide application of the nexus test supported the school district. Finally, the parents' claims alleging violations of their substantive due process failed because their fundamental right to choose the student's educational forum was not infringed by the school district's discipline of the student. View "McNeil v. Sherwood School District 88J" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor, sex trafficking of a minor, conspiracy to transport a minor to engage in prostitution, and transporting a minor to engage in prostitution. The panel held that the district court did not err by excluding testimony regarding one of the victim's prior prostitution activities. In this case, defendant cited no case holding that a defense such as the one he sought to present here triggers the exception in Federal Rule of Evidence 42. The panel saw no reason to depart from the persuasive authorities that held to the contrary. However, the panel held that the applicability of Rule 412 should not depend on the alleged victim's desire to testify. The panel held that, even if the district court misapplied Rule 412, any error would be harmless. Finally, the panel considered defendant's additional arguments that the government opened the door to testimony about the victim's activities and held that they lacked merit. View "United States v. Haines" on Justia Law

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Under the facts of this case, McCoy v. Louisiana, 138 S. Ct. 1500 (2018), requires that a criminal defendant have the Sixth Amendment right to demand that counsel not present an insanity defense. Defendant was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to bodily harm, and assault with a deadly weapon resulting in serious bodily injury. The panel rejected defendant's contention that the government did not sufficiently allege and prove the jurisdiction element of 18 U.S.C. 113(a) (assault with a deadly weapon resulting in serious bodily injury). In light of McCoy, defendant's Sixth Amendment rights were violated when the trial judge permitted counsel to present an insanity defense against his clear objection; considering defendant's mental illness and "bizarre" behavior, including his diagnosis of schizophrenia, the district court did not abuse its discretion by appointing counsel; and defendant waived his Speedy Trial Act claim. View "United States v. Read" on Justia Law