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Defense counsel’s affirmative misrepresentation regarding filing a postconviction petition and subsequent abandonment of Petitioner can be an impediment external to the defense to satisfy cause of the delay under Nev. Rev. Stat. 34.726(1)(a) for filing an untimely petition. Petitioner filed an untimely postconviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus stemming from his conviction of battery with the use of a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm. Petitioner stated that he had good cause for the delay in filing his petition because he believed his counsel had filed a petition on his behalf, his belief was reasonable, and he filed the petition within a reasonable time of discovering his petition had not been filed. The district court dismissed the petition as time-barred. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings, holding (1) to demonstrate good cause for the delay in filing an untimely petition, a petitioner must show four factors; and (2) Petitioner demonstrated good cause for his delay under this test. View "Harris v. State" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit vacated the district court's denial of relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254 as to petitioner's Brady claim, holding that the district court abused its discretion in dismissing the claim without holding an evidentiary hearing because it failed to assess the plausibility of that claim through the proper legal lens. In this case, withheld witness materials were exculpatory and impeaching evidence that was unquestionably subject to disclosure under Brady. The court reasoned that, by failing to disclose such evidence before trial, and unjustifiably continuing to resist its disclosure for years thereafter, the prosecution arrogated to itself a central function belonging to the criminal jury and pursued its roles as adversary to the exclusion of its role as architect of a just trial. Accordingly, the court remanded to the district court for further proceedings. View "Juniper v. Zook" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the juvenile court adjudicating D.G. and R.G. delinquent for committing aggravated sexual assault. The juvenile court denied the motions filed by D.G. and R.G. to suppress their post-Miranda statements regarding the sexual assault to a detective during an interview, and both interviews with the detective regarding the sexual assault were introduced at trial. D.G. and R.G. appealed, arguing that the juvenile court erred in denying the motion to suppress their post-Miranda statements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Miranda warnings given to D.G. and R.G. were sufficient according to the standards set by this court and the United States Supreme Court; and (2) both D.G. and R.G. knowingly and voluntarily waived their Miranda rights. View "In re R.G." on Justia Law

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When defendants were originally sentenced, each received a sentence reduction for previously serving time on related state charges. The government then requested that the district court "correct" defendants' sentences pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(a) to eliminate the reductions. The Fifth Circuit held that defendants' initial sentences were not "clear error" correctable under Rule 35(a). Accordingly, the court vacated the order correcting defendants' sentences and reinstated the original judgments for each defendant. View "United States v. Hankton" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted the petition for a writ of mandamus filed by Petitioner, the City of Las Vegas challenging an appellate court’s review of unpreserved trial error, holding that the district court, acting in its appellate capacity, considered an unpreserved claim but ignored the clear record and speculated as to facts that could demonstrate error. After the municipal court found Steven Kamide guilty of domestic battery and simple battery, Kamide appealed, alleging for the first time a violation of the witness exclusion rule, Nev. Rev. Stat. 50.155(1). The district court found that the rule had been violated and concluded that prejudice had to be presumed because the record did not clearly show the absence of prejudice. The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s reversal of Kamide’s convictions, holding that the district court arbitrarily and capriciously exercised its discretion under the plain error rule to consider an issue that was not preserved for appeal. View "City of Las Vegas v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment convicting Appellant of four counts of sexual assault, eight counts of open or gross lewdness, and one count of indecent exposure. The convictions stemmed from accusations that Appellant used his position as a certified nursing assistant to take advantage of multiple patients in his care. The court held (1) under the circumstances of this case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting the State’s motion to join the offenses under the theory that they were committed pursuant to a common scheme or plan under Nev. Rev. Stat. 173.115(2); and (2) Appellant’s rights under state and federal law were not violated before trial, during trial, or at sentencing. View "Farmer v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court finding that Defendant violated the terms of his probation, sentencing him to serve sixteen years in prison, and denying Defendant’s motion for reconsideration. The Supreme Court held (1) the hearing justice did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in finding a witness to be a credible witness at the probation-violation hearing; (2) the hearing justice did not err in finding that Defendant did not keep the peace or act with good behavior and in thus denying Defendant’s motion for reconsideration; and (3) the hearing justice did not abuse his discretion in executing the remaining sixteen years of Defendant’s suspended sentence. View "Neufville v. State" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence of 75 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to wire fraud, use of unauthorized access devices, and aggravated identity theft. The court held that the presentencing report's statement that the scheme involved more than 50 participants was not material to any enhancement under USSG 3B1.1(b), and any error in overruling defendant's objection was harmless. The court also held that the district court properly overruled defendant's objections to the PSR; the district court did not err by finding that she was a manager or supervisor of a criminal activity involving five or more participants where defendant admitted the scheme involved more than 15 participants. Finally, the district court did not err by denying a two-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility under USSG 3E1.1(a). View "United States v. Davis" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's 130 month sentence after he pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by not considering the sentences of other similarly situated defendants. The court explained that, although sentencing-disparity arguments were properly raised to the district court, the court declined to impose a procedural requirement that a district court must compare and contrast the defendant under consideration with a similar offender who has been sentenced by another federal judge. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion by imposing a substantively unreasonable sentence. View "United States v. McElderry" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order summarily denying Appellant’s first successive motion for postconviction relief filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851. Appellant was convicted of two counts of first-degree premeditated murder. Following a penalty phase bench trial and a Spencer hearing, the trial court sentenced Appellant to death for each of the murders. This appeal concerned the denial of Appellant’s first successive postconviction motion in which Appellant raised several claims in light of Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016) and Hurst v. State, 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant validly waived the right to a penalty phase jury, and Appellant’s arguments did not compel departing from precedent denying Hurst relief to defendants that have waived the right to a penalty phase jury. View "Allred v. State" on Justia Law