by
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's successive 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion for habeas relief. The court held that a prisoner bringing a successive section 2255 petition must show that it is "more likely than not" that the sentencing court relied on the residual clause to prove that his claim "relies on" Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551, 2563 (2015). In this case, petitioner failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that he was sentenced under the residual clause and therefore his claim relies on Johnson. Accordingly, the district court properly dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction. View "United States v. Clay" on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to distribution of methamphetamine. The court held that the district court did not err in determining that defendant's prior conviction for robbery in violation of Arkansas Code Annotation Section 5-12-102 was a crime of violence for purposes of career offender sentencing under USSG 4B1.1. The court held that Arkansas robbery has the same elements as the generic definition of robbery, which involves the use or threat of physical force upon another. View "United States v. Stovall" on Justia Law

by
Marc McKee was convicted by jury on four counts of possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The Court of Appeals reversed those convictions on the ground that the warrant police used was overbroad in order to obtain the underlying cell phone photos and videos. Instead of remanding for suppression of that evidence, the appellate court ordered all counts dismissed, meaning retrial was barred. Though the appellate court provided no reason to justify that remed, the Washington Supreme Court determined the lower court thought dismissal was warranted because once the cell phone evidence was suppressed, there would be insufficient evidence to sustain the convictions in a second trial. The State appealed, and the Supreme Court reversed: the proper remedy following suppression of the cell phone evidence was to vacate McKee's convictions and remand for further proceedings. View "Washington v. McKee" on Justia Law

by
In 2016, Washington charged Jason Catling with two counts of delivery of heroin. Pursuant to a plea deal, Catling pleaded guilty to one count in exchange for the State's agreement to dismiss the other, and to recommend a residential drug offender sentencing alternative (DOSA). During the sentencing hearing, Catling's attorney argued that because Catling's sole source of income was Social Security disability benefits, the trial court should not impose any legal financial obligations (LFOs), including mandatory obligations, based on the Washington Supreme Court's decision in City of Richland v. Wakefield, 380 P.3d 459 (2016), which had just issued the day before Catling's sentencing hearing. The trial court took the LFO matter under advisement, finding Catling's sole source of income were benefits totaling $753 per month. The trial court ultimately issued an order imposing LOFs totaling $800, finding LFOs could be ordered when a person was indigent and whose only source of income was social security disability. The Court of Appeals held that the particular obligations imposed here did not violate the federal antiattachment statute, but remanded for clarification of the payment order. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals in part, holding that the trial court erred in imposing a $200 filing fee on Catling. Further, the case was remanded to the sentencing court for a determination of whether Catling previously provided a DNA sample; if so, then the trial court's imposition of a $100 DNA collection fee was in error. The Supreme Court affirmed the imposition of the $500 crime victim fund assessment, but remanded for the trial court to revise the judgment and sentence and repayment order to comply with HB 1783, and to indicate the LFO could not be satisfied out of Catling's Social Security benefits. View "Washington v. Catling" on Justia Law

by
Washington charged Michael Burns with second degree assault, domestic violence, and felony violation of a no-contact order, for strangling Christina Jackson while the no-contact order was in effect. The appeal presented for the Washington Supreme Court's review centered on whether Burns was improerly denied his right to waive counsel and represent himself at trial, and whether he could assert a violation of the confrontation clause for the first time on appeal. The trial court judge denied Burns' request to proceed pro se based on a lack of understanding of the nature of the charges against him where he indicated the criminal charges brought against him did not pertain to him, and that he had not entered into a contract such that the State could bring charges against him. Burns contended on appeal his right to confrontation was violated when statements of his victim came in as evidence through testimony of her neighbor and the responding police officer, though she herself did not testimony. Burns did not objet to the testimony on confrontation grounds at trial. The Washington Supreme Court concurred with the Court of Appeals that the trial judge did not abuse her discretion in denying Burns' request to proceed pro se, and that Burns waived his right to assert a confrontation violation by not objecting at trial. View "Washington v. Burns" on Justia Law

by
A bystander called 911 about a loud, late-night argument in a home. Police, concerned about domestic violence, went to investigate. Officers heard the argument and demanded entry. Petitioner Solomon McLemore and his girlfriend Lisa were inside and refused to open the door. Police broke down the door under a well-established exception to the warrant requirement, community caretaking. Officers found no one was injured, and no other evidence of any other crime, they arrested LcLemore for obstruction of law enforcement, mostly based on McLemore's belligerent refusal to open the door. McLemore challenged that conviction, namely, whether under the obstruction statute (as properly limited to its constitutional scope and the facts of this case) McLemore's conviction could stand. The Washington Supreme Court concluded it could not, reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "City of Shoreline v. McLemore" on Justia Law

by
Defendant Patrick Sparks appealed the trial court’s imposition of three consecutive probation revocation sanctions, the Court of Appeals affirmed, and the Oregon Supreme Court allowed defendant’s petition for review. On review, defendant argues that, under a provision of the sentencing guidelines, OAR 213-012-0040(2)(b), in order for the trial court to impose three consecutive sanctions as it did, it had to find three separate violations. The Supreme Court did not address defendant’s argument regarding OAR 213-012-0040(2)(b), because the trial court found ten separate violations. Specifically, the trial court found one violation of a condition that defendant not use illegal drugs and nine violations of a condition that defendant not contact the victim of his crimes. Defendant contends the trial court erred in finding nine violations of the no-contact condition; instead, he argued the State alleged only a single violation of the no-contact condition and, therefore, failed to provide sufficient notice to support a finding of more than one violation of that condition. The Supreme Court rejected defendant’s argument that the state’s notice was insufficient to support the trial court’s findings of multiple violations of the no-contact provision. Therefore, even under defendant’s interpretation of OAR 213-012-0040 (2)(b), the trial court could find enough separate violations to support the consecutive sanctions it imposed. View "Oregon v. Sparks" on Justia Law

by
This case began with Petitioner Victor Uroza-Zuniga's arrest for public drinking, in violation of the Beaverton, Oregon City Code. That arrest led to a search, a charge of drug possession, a denied motion to suppress, a bench trial, conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine, and an unsuccessful appeal. Beaverton prohibited drinking alcoholic beverages in any public place. Yet ORS 430.402(1)(b) prohibited Beaverton, along with all other local governments, from regulating or proscribing “[p]ublic drinking, except as to places where any consumption of alcoholic beverages is generally prohibited.” Defendant argued the state statute preempted Beaverton’s public drinking ordinance, making his arrest illegal and the fruits of that arrest subject to suppression. The state, along with amici curiae the City of Beaverton and the League of Oregon Cities, argued that it fell within ORS 430.402(1)(b)’s exception, and it was therefore not preempted. The Oregon Supreme Court held Beaverton’s public drinking ordinance was not preempted and affirmed defendant’s conviction. View "Oregon v. Uroza-Zuniga" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court denied Petitioner's petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to consider a petition for writ of error coram nobis, holding that Petitioner failed to demonstrate a violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) or to otherwise establish a basis for coram nobis relief. Petitioner was convicted of second-degree battery, aggravated robbery, and other offenses. After Petitioner unsucessfully filed his coram nobis petition, he appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the majority of Petitioner's coram nobis petition was made up of claims that the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to prove his guilt, and such challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence are not cognizable in a coram nobis proceeding; and (2) Petitioner's one cognizable coram nobis claim alleging a Brady violation was made without any factual support and could not be a ground for the writ. View "Harrell v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Appellant's conviction for capital murder, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in not allowing Appellant to impeach a prosecution witness's credibility with extrinsic evidence of her mental disorder. A jury found Appellant guilty of premeditated and deliberated capital murder and of using a firearm during the commission of the offense. Appellant was sentenced to life in prison. On appeal, Appellant argued that the circuit court abused its discretion by not allowing him to impeach a witness's credibility with extrinsic evidence that she suffered from schizophrenia. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, even assuming the circuit court erred by refusing to allow this evidence to impeach Appellant's credibility, any error would be harmless under the facts of this case. View "Collins v. State" on Justia Law