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The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals, which held that the police did not have probable cause to search the trunk of a car owned and driven by Respondent. The suppression court denied Respondent’s motion to suppress, ruling that, under the totality of the circumstances, the officers had reasonable suspicion that the individuals in the vehicle were involved in criminal activity, permitting the continued detention, and that by the time the officers searched the trunk of Respondent’s vehicle they had amassed probable cause - based in part on drug evidence found on the person of Respondent’s front-seat passenger - to believe the trunk contained evidence of drug-related activity. The Court of Special Appeals reversed. The Court of Appeals vacated the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals, holding that the intermediate appellate court failed to review, in their entirety, the facts and circumstances that led the police to search the trunk of Respondent’s car and instead isolated certain facts while ignoring or minimizing others. View "State v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals, which held that the police did not have probable cause to search the trunk of a car owned and driven by Respondent. The suppression court denied Respondent’s motion to suppress, ruling that, under the totality of the circumstances, the officers had reasonable suspicion that the individuals in the vehicle were involved in criminal activity, permitting the continued detention, and that by the time the officers searched the trunk of Respondent’s vehicle they had amassed probable cause - based in part on drug evidence found on the person of Respondent’s front-seat passenger - to believe the trunk contained evidence of drug-related activity. The Court of Special Appeals reversed. The Court of Appeals vacated the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals, holding that the intermediate appellate court failed to review, in their entirety, the facts and circumstances that led the police to search the trunk of Respondent’s car and instead isolated certain facts while ignoring or minimizing others. View "State v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of a motion to dismiss plaintiff's claims against the City and Eddie Salame, Chief of the Grapevine Police Department (GPD). The court also affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Officer Robert Clark on plaintiff's remaining excessive force claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983 on the basis of qualified immunity. Ruben Garcia-Villalpando was shot and killed by Clark. Given the tense and evolving factual circumstances, the court held that Clark reasonably believed that Garcia-Villalpando posed a threat of serious harm. In this case, Garcia-Villalpando fled the scene of a serious crime, drove recklessly and endangered others, refused to obey roughly thirty commands, and approached Clark on a narrow highway shoulder directly adjacent to speeding traffic. The court explained that the fact that Garcia-Villalpando was ultimately found to have been unarmed was immaterial. Because plaintiff failed to demonstrate that Garcia-Villalpando's Fourth Amendment rights were violated, her claims against the City and Salame for failure to train and inadequate screening/hiring failed as well. View "Romero v. Grapevine, Texas," on Justia Law

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Trayon Williams was convicted of possessing a firearm after a felony conviction. To apply the federal sentencing guidelines, the district court classified Williams’s prior conviction for aggravated battery under Kansas law as a crime of violence. This classification triggered enhancement of the offense level. U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual section 2K2.1(a)(4)(A). Williams challenged the enhancement on the ground that his prior conviction was not for a crime of violence. The Tenth Circuit found Williams was mistaken: in Kansas, aggravated battery was a crime of violence because the crime involves general criminal intent, requiring the knowing use of force. View "United States v. Williams" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's imposition of seven special conditions of supervised release. The special conditions were imposed after revocation of defendant's supervised release and new sentence after he pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct involving a child by indecent exposure. Defendant argued that the district court imposed the challenged conditions without providing a sufficient explanation of how the conditions satisfied the requirements of 18 U.S.C. 3583(d). The court held that defendant could not meet his burden to show that the district court made an obvious error that caused prejudice and a miscarriage of justice. View "United States v. Thompson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the district court and court of appeals ruling that a search of Defendant’s van, which resulted in the discovery of drugs and a meth pipe, was not in violation of Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. Specifically, the Court held that the district court properly denied Defendant’s motion to suppress because assuming, without deciding, that the initial encounter became an investigatory detention, it was supported by reasonable suspicion and was therefore legal, and Defendant’s consent to the search during that time was not tainted. View "State v. Hanke" on Justia Law

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In this appeal, Appellant, who at age thirteen shot and killed his mother, raised challenges to Iowa’s youthful offender laws. Specifically, he argued (1) Iowa Code 232.45(7)(a) does not provide statutory authority to try a thirteen-year-old as a youthful offender, (2) Iowa Code 232.45(7) and Iowa Code 907.3A constitute unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment, and (3) the sentencing court abused its discretion by incarcerating him. The Supreme Court affirmed Appellant’s conviction as a youthful offender and his fifty-year indeterminate sentence with immediate parole eligibility, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Appellant to a prison term rather than releasing him on probation or placing him in a transitional facility based on an individualized assessment of Defendant under a constitutional statutory scheme. View "State v. Crooks" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court summarily dismissing Appellant’s application for postconviction relief, holding that the statute of limitations did not bar Appellant’s claims but that Appellant failed to establish a Brady violation or demonstrate a viable newly-discovered-evidence claim. Appellant was found guilty of first-degree murder. This appeal concerned Appellant’s amended second pro se application for postconviction relief, in which he argued, inter alia, that newly discovered evidence required vacation of his original sentence and judgment and that the State committed a Brady violation during trial. The district court granted the State’s motion for summary dismissal, concluding that Appellant’s application was untimely by applying the newly-discovered-evidence test rather than the ground-of-fact test. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant’s claims were not time barred; but (2) Appellant failed to establish that he was entitled to relief on his claims. View "Moon v. State" on Justia Law

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In the context of a probable cause determination, the issue of a drug detection dog’s reliability is a legal question to be reviewed de novo. Sergeant Christopher Lamb initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle that Petitioner had been driving. A drug detection dog arrived at the scene of the traffic stop, scanned the vehicle, and alerted to it. Sergeant Lamb searched the vehicle and found drugs inside. The circuit court determined that the drug detection dog was reliable. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) the ultimate question of probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of a vehicle based on a drug detection dog’s alert is reviewed de novo, but the issue of a drug detection dog’s reliability is a factual question, and accordingly, an appellate court reviews for clear error a trial court’s determination as to whether a drug detection dog is, or is not, reliable; and (2) the circuit court in this case did not clearly err in determining that the drug detection dog was reliable, and under the totality of the circumstances, that the arresting officer had probable cause for the search. View "Grimm v. State" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted Everett Moore of second-degree murder for the 2015 shooting and killing Norris Smith. The Circuit Court sentenced Moore to thirty years’ imprisonment. A majority of the Mississippi Supreme Court determined the trial court erred by denying Moore the circumstantial evidence jury instruction to which he was entitled. Thus, it reversed his conviction and remanded the case for a new trial. View "Moore v. Mississippi" on Justia Law