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The First Circuit vacated the district court’s order granting Appellants’ motion to intervene in an ongoing criminal trial but otherwise denying in substantial part Appellants’ motion to unseal requested information regarding the names and addresses of the jurors in the criminal case as soon as possible after the jury’s verdict, holding that precedent requires post-verdict disclosure of juror names and addresses. Appellants were the owners of WBUR, a public radio station in Boston, Massachusetts. A week before trial ended, WBUR filed its motion both to intervene in the criminal case and to obtain information disclosing, post-verdict, juror names and addresses. The district court issued an order allowing intervention but denying WBUR’s motion regarding the disclosure of juror names and addresses. The First Circuit held that In re Globe Newspaper Co., 920 F.2d 88 (1st Cir. 1990), holds that, absent a district court having made the requisite particularized findings to justify either nondisclosure or a delay in disclosure, juror addresses may not be withheld post-verdict and that the disclosure of the requested juror information may not be delayed until after sentencing. View "United States v. Chin" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals affirming the trial court’s denial of Petitioner’s motion for a new trial, holding that the trial court’s error of supplying the jury with an instruction that was an incorrect statement of the law was not harmless. Petitioner was convicted of first-degree child abuse. Petitioner subsequently filed a motion for new trial on the grounds that the trial court gave a pattern jury instruction that erroneously omitted an element of the sole offense for which Petitioner was convicted. The circuit court denied the motion, concluding that the erroneous jury instruction did not have an impact on the defense’s theory of the case. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the erroneous jury instruction was prejudicial error and warranted a new trial. View "Williams v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s Wyo. R. Crim. P. 35(b) motion for sentence reduction, holding that there was no abuse of discretion. Defendant received a sentence of fourteen to eighteen years in prison in connection with his conviction of one count of aggravated vehicular homicide. After the district court denied Defendant’s motion for sentence reduction Defendant appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court had a rational basis for denying Defendant’s motion for sentence reduction; and (2) Defendant’s argument that his sentence was illegal because it violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment was procedurally barred. View "Barrowes v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the portion of the court of appeals’ decision holding that relevant statutes required that the district court impose certain expenses as “court costs” but affirmed the portion of the decision affirming the district court’s order taxing Appellant for those expenses as court costs, holding that the statutes here authorized the district court to tax appellant for the disputed expenses but did not mandate the imposition of the expenses. Appellant pleaded no contest to one count of second-degree murder. Thereafter, the State requested that the district court order Appellant to reimburse the State for witnesses expenses and trial exhibits. The district court ordered Appellant to pay all of the fees and expenses requested by the State. On appeal, Appellant argued that the district court had no authority to tax him for the trial exhibit expenses. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court held (1) the expenses the State incurred in preparing the trial exhibits were properly taxable as court costs; but (2) the court of appeals erred in concluding that the district court was mandated to assess these expenses against Appellant. View "State v. Alvarez" on Justia Law

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Felons are not among the law-abiding, responsible citizens entitled to the protections of the Second Amendment. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's action seeking to enjoin the enforcement of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1), which prohibits anyone convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year from owning firearms for life. The court held that, in this applied challenge, plaintiff failed to show facts about his conviction that distinguished him from other convicted felons encompassed by the section 922(g)(1) prohibition. In this case, plaintiff was convicted as a felon for falsifying his income on mortgage applications twenty-seven years ago. View "Medina v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of operating while intoxicated (OUI), second offense, holding that Defendant’s rights under Iowa Code 804.20 were not violated when a law enforcement officer denied Defendant’s request to call his wife until after sobriety testing occurred. Defendant was driving a motor vehicle when he was involved in an accident in the midst of a snowstorm. Because of the weather conditions, the law enforcement officer that responded to the scene transported Defendant to a protected location - the sally port of the nearby law enforcement center - for the completion of field sobriety testing. Before leaving the scene, Defendant asked to talk to his wife, but the request was denied. Defendant subsequently failed field sobriety tests. Defendant was later convicted of OUI. Defendant appealed, arguing that his rights were violated because he had been “restrained of his liberty” within the meaning of section 804.20 at the sally port. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant’s rights under section 804.20 were not violated when the officer refused to allow Defendant the opportunity to speak with his wife until after field sobriety testing had been completed at the sally port because the sally port was a location for testing, not a “place of detention” within the meaning of section 804.20. View "State v. Davis" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of second-degree degree murder and other offenses, holding that the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress and that Defendant’s other assignments of error lacked merit. On appeal from his convictions and sentences, Defendant argued, among other things, that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress cell site location information (CSLI) in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Carpenter v. United States, __ U.S. __ (2018). The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) even though the acquisition of CSLI violated Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, the district court did not err by denying Defendant’s motion to suppress because the exclusionary rule did not apply; (2) suppression is not an available remedy for violation of the Stored Communications Act; (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion by allowing certain testimony; and (4) the district court id not abuse its discretion in sentencing Defendant. View "State v. Brown" on Justia Law

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Lund and 30 others were charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin. The indictment alleged that the conspiracy resulted in overdose deaths of five individuals, 21 U.S.C. 841(b)(1)(A). Lund pleaded guilty but denied responsibility for two deaths, arguing that he had withdrawn from the conspiracy before those deaths. The district court judge rejected that argument and sentenced him in accordance with the 20-year mandatory minimum (“death results” enhancement). The Seventh Circuit affirmed. His sentence became final in 2013. In 2016, Lund filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255 based on changes in the law occurring after his conviction. In Burrage, the Supreme Court held that finding a defendant guilty of the “death results” penalty “requires proof ‘that the harm would not have occurred in the absence of—that is, but for—the defendant’s conduct.’” This but-for causation rule applies retroactively. Lund argued that under Burrage, he is actually innocent of the “death results” enhancement because the heroin he provided to two individuals was not the but-for cause of their deaths. The district court found that there was no statutory basis to find his petition timely; it was filed more than a year after the Supreme Court decided Burrage and more than a year after the evidence he presented could have been discovered, The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Even assuming actual innocence can be premised on a change in the law, Lund cannot take advantage of the exception because he rests both his actual innocence claim and his claim for relief on Burrage. View "Lund v. United States" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the convictions of Defendants Juan Bravo-Fernandez and Hector Martinez-Maldonado (Martinez) for federal program bribery, holding that the government did not meet its burden of establishing that the entity Martinez represented as an agent received at least $10,000 in federal “benefits” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 666. In this appeal, the third time this case was before the First Circuit, Defendants argued that evidence stipulated to early in the proceedings was insufficient to convict them of federal program bribery because the government did not introduce evidence sufficient to satisfy the jurisdictional element under section 666(b) that the government entity received “benefits in excess of $10,00 under a Federal program.” The First Circuit agreed, holding that the government failed to meet its burden of establishing that the entity Martinez represented as an agent received the amount of benefits required under section 666(b). View "United States v. Bravo-Fernandez" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court sentencing Defendant to forty-six months’ imprisonment in connection with Defendant’s plea of guilty to a charge of possessing a machine gun, holding that the sentence was neither procedurally flawed nor substantively unreasonable. Defendant’s guilty plea placed him in a federal guideline sentencing range (GSR) of twenty-four to thirty months’ imprisonment. After considering the facts of Defendant’s offense as well as other sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. 3553(a), the district court determined that a sentence above the GSR was appropriate and sentenced Defendant to forty-six months’ imprisonment and three years’ supervised release. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the forty-six-month variant incarceration was neither procedurally nor substantively unreasonable. View "United States v. Contreras-Delgado" on Justia Law