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After plaintiff was exonerated for a crime that he served seventeen years in prison for, he filed suit against various government and law enforcement personnel over his wrongful conviction and imprisonment. The Fifth Circuit held that false imprisonment was a "continuing tort" in Texas and defendant's claim was timely filed; defendant's due process claim against the county defendants was properly dismissed as time-barred; but absolute immunity barred defendant's due process claim against the prosecutor. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Moon v. City of El Paso" on Justia Law

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When a defendant had no opportunity to object to special conditions (because they were unmentioned at sentencing), the Fifth Circuit reviews for abuse of discretion, and any "unpronounced" special conditions must, upon remand, be stricken from the written judgment. In this case, defendant pleaded guilty to various felony charges stemming from his meth business. The court vacated defendant's sentence and remanded for the district court to amend its written judgment by removing three unpronounced special conditions. The court held that the written judgment against defendant broadened the oral pronouncement. Because the two conflict, the oral pronouncement controlled. View "United States v. Rivas-Estrada" on Justia Law

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Officer Joseph Danzy responded to a call about two suspicious men in an Akron neighborhood. He found Rauphael Thomas and Jesse Gray standing on the sidewalk. One thing (a Terry frisk) led to another (a tussle on the ground), which led to another (the discharge of Thomas’s concealed pistol). Thomas sprinted away, and Danzy shot him. Thomas died. His mother and estate administrator, Sherry Wilkerson, filed constitutional and state-tort claims against the officers, the City of Akron, and its police department. The district court denied Danzy summary judgment on one claim, which Danzy appealed. Wilkerson cross-appealed the grant of summary judgment on the other claims. The Sixth Circuit agreed Danzy was not entitled to summary judgment on the Terry stop-and-frisk; the Court agreed Wilkerson was not entitled to judgment in her favor on the other claims raised. View "Wilkerson v. City of Akron" on Justia Law

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In 2006, a federal jury convicted Victor Castano of drug and firearms crimes. At a subsequent trial in 2015, Castano was convicted of suborning perjury and obstructing justice regarding the 2006 trial, among other crimes. His sentence could be enhanced due to his 2006 felony convictions. Fearing such enhancement, Castano petitioned the district court for a writ of coram nobis to challenge his 2006 firearms conviction. The district court denied his petition. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, finding Castano’s petition ultimately failed because he did not show fundamental error that would justify this extraordinary remedy, and he lacked sound reasons for failing to seek earlier appropriate relief. View "United States v. Castano" on Justia Law

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In 2016, commercial air pilot Sean Fitzgerald showed up for work "rip-roaring drunk." He was set to fly in the morning, so he readied the jet for take-off: he conducted a walk-around safety check before entering the cockpit, where he calibrated the altimeter, programmed the flight-management system, turned on the auxiliary power unit, and requested flight clearance from air- traffic control. Before passengers boarded, Fitzgerald’s co-pilot recognized his inebriation and alerted airline executives, who in turn notified local law enforcement. Fitzgerald was arrested and charged under 18 U.S.C. 342, which makes it a crime to operate a common carrier while intoxicated. A jury convicted Fitzgerald, and the district court sentenced him to one year and one day in prison and to three years of supervised release. On appeal, Fitzgerald contended that the actions he performed were not enough to operate the aircraft within the meaning of section 342, that the jury was wrongly instructed, and that the district court erred at his sentencing. Finding no reversible error, the Sixth Circuit affirmed Fitzgerald's conviction. View "United States v. Fitzgerald" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s sentence of sixty months in prison following his guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm and unlawfully possessing a machine gun, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below. After entered his guilty plea, the district court varied upward and sentenced Defendant to sixty months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. The presentence report stipulated a guidelines imprisonment range of thirty to thirty-seven months. On appeal, Defendant claimed that the variant sentence was excessive and thus substantively unreasonable. The First Circuit disagreed, holding that, given Defendant’s offense conduct and his criminal history, the sentence imposed was substantively reasonable and that the variance was lawfully imposed and adequately explained. View "United States v. Hernandez-Ramos" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order summarily denying Appellant’s successive motion for postconviction relief filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that Defendant was not entitled to Hurst relief, nor was he entitled to relief on his other claims. Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of ten to two. The trial judge imposed a sentence of death. In his successive motion for postconviction relief, Appellant raised four claims based on Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and Hurst v. State, 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). The trial court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Appellant’s sentence became final prior to Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002), Appellant was not entitled to Hurst relief; and (2) Appellant was not entitled to relief on his other claims. View "Jones v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the Fourth District Court of Appeal in this criminal case, holding that the State was not entitled to the speedy trial rule’s recapture period in Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.191, where the State informed Defendant that it had terminated its prosecutorial efforts and failed to notify Defendant that new and different charges based on the same conduct were filed before the speedy trial period expired. The State charged Defendant with tampering with a witness and later dismissed the charges. After the speedy trial period expired, Defendant became aware of new charges based on the same conduct. The trial court granted Defendant’s motion for discharge without allowing the State the opportunity to try Defendant within the recapture period. The Fourth District reversed, receding from its prior decisions requiring that the defendant be notified of the charges within the speedy trial period. The Supreme Court quashed the decision below, holding that, under the circumstances in this case, the trial court correctly denied the State the recapture period and discharged Defendant. View "Born-Suniaga v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the Court denying Petitioner’s petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse her discretion in denying relief. Petitioner was convicted of rape of a child and indecent assault and battery on a child under fourteen years of age. Petitioner later filed his Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 petition alleging that the trial court ignored his motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence that he claimed to have previously filed. The single justice denied the petition without a hearing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that because it was unclear from the record whether the motion was actually ever received by and filed in the trial court Petitioner was not entitled to relief. View "Santos v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the Court denying Petitioner’s petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse his discretion in denying relief. In 1974, Petitioner was convicted of several crimes in two different cases. In 2014, Petitioner filed a motion for a new trial in each of the two cases. The trial court denied the motions, and the Appeals Court affirmed. Petitioner then filed this petition raising the same issues that he had raised in the Appeals Court. The single justice denied the petition without a hearing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to review under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. View "McCants v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law