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Defendant Lonnie Arnold masturbated in front of an employee at the Monroe Public Library in January 2014. He was charged with aggravated indecent exposure, MCL 750.335a(2)(b), indecent exposure by a sexually delinquent person, MCL 750.335a(2)(c), and also with being a fourth-offense habitual offender, MCL 769.12. He was convicted after a jury trial on both substantive indecent-exposure counts. At sentencing, the Department of Corrections (DOC) recommended defendant serve 225 months to 40 years in prison on the count of indecent exposure by a sexually delinquent person, to be served concurrently with 2 to 15 years on the aggravated indecent-exposure count. At sentencing, defense counsel asked that defendant be given “1 day to life.” The issue this case presented for the Michigan Supreme Court's review was whether individuals convicted of being “sexually delinquent persons” must be given a “1 day to life” prison sentence in accordance with MCL 750.335a(2)(c). The Court concluded that a “1 day to life” sentence has never been required by the statutory scheme, overruling the Court of Appeals’ contrary conclusion in Michigan v Campbell, 894 NW2d 72 (2016), and remanded this case to the Court of Appeals for reconsideration in light of its conclusion. View "Michigan v. Arnold" on Justia Law

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In consolidated cases, the State of Vermont appealed the trial court’s interlocutory orders granting defendants’ motions in limine seeking to suppress evidence of their refusal to submit to blood tests to determine if they were operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs (DUI). The trial court granted the motions in limine based on its conclusion that in Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S. Ct. 2160 (2016), the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a constitutional right, pursuant to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, to refuse to submit to a warrantless blood test. In the trial court’s view, that constitutional right superseded Vermont’s implied consent law and precluded the State from introducing evidence of defendants’ refusal at their criminal DUI trial. The State challenged the trial court’s interpretation of Birchfield, arguing the federal Supreme Court indicated evidence of a refusal to take a warrantless blood test in the context of a DUI arrest and prosecution could be admitted at trial as evidence of guilt. Defendants responded that the constitutional issue had been effectively mooted by a post-Birchfield amendment to Vermont’s implied consent law and that, in any event, the trial court correctly construed Birchfield and other related federal law to prohibit the admission of evidence of a refusal to consent to a warrantless blood test. The Vermont Supreme Court concluded the amendment to the implied consent law did not moot the constitutional issue, and that the trial court erred in determining, following the Birchfield decision, the Fourth Amendment prohibited admitting in a criminal DUI proceeding evidence of a defendant’s refusal to submit to a warrantless blood test requested pursuant to Vermont’s implied consent law. Accordingly, the Vermont Court reversed the trial court’s decisions granting defendants’ motions in limine and remanded the cases for further proceedings. View "Vermont v. Rajda" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the Exclusionary Rule Reform Act (ERRA), Tenn. Code Ann. 40-6-108, represents an impermissible encroachment by the legislature upon the Supreme Court’s authority and responsibility to adopt exceptions to the exclusionary rule and therefore violates the Tennessee Constitution’s Separation of Powers Clause. Defendant was convicted to two counts of first degree premeditated murder and other crimes. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences, holding (1) in light of today’s holding that the ERRA is unconstitutional, the trial court erred when it denied Defendant’s motion to suppress in reliance on the ERRA; (2) a good-faith clerical error that results in an inconsequential variation between three copies of a search warrant required pursuant to Rule 41, in and of itself, does not entitle the moving party to suppression of the evidence collected pursuant to the warrant, and therefore, the trial court properly denied Defendant’s motion to suppress under this good-faith exception; and (3) Defendant’s remaining arguments on appeal did not warrant reversal of her convictions. View "State v. Lowe" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court granting Defendant’s motion to suppress a blood sample drawn from Defendant pursuant to a search warrant because the arresting officer failed to leave a copy of the warrant with Defendant, holding that, under the facts and circumstances of this case, a good-faith exception should be applied to Tenn. R. Crim. P. 41’s exclusionary rule. The trial court granted Defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence obtained pursuant to the warrant on the basis of the exclusionary rule set out in Rule 41. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded this matter to the trial court for further proceedings, holding that, given the specific facts of this case, a good-faith exception to Rule 41’s technical requirement that the officer executing a search warrant leave a copy of the warrant with the person searched should apply to this case. View "State v. Daniel" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit granted Ergon's petition for review challenging EPA's denial of Ergon's application for an extension of the small refinery exemption from the renewable fuel standard program. The court held that EPA's decision was arbitrary and capricious because EPA relied on DOE's facially-deficient recommendation to an unexplained and unknown degree, and EPA failed to properly address Ergon's petition with regard to renewable identification number costs. View "Ergon-West Virginia, Inc. v. EPA" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for theft of mail by a postal employee and possession of stolen mail. The panel held that the district court did not err in denying defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment on due process grounds based on the government's failure to preserve a video of a Postal Service employee parking lot. In this case, the investigating agent did not act in bad faith and the exculpatory value of the video was speculative. The panel also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by failing to instruct the jury on lost or destroyed evidence as a sanction for the government's failure to preserve the parking lot video; a conversation between the prosecutor and two investigating agents outside the courtroom did not violate Fed. R. Evid. 615; the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant's request for production of an agent's notes under the Jencks Act; and the district court did not err by adopting a jury instruction on embezzlement of mail by a postal employee. View "United States v. Robertson" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit reversed the district court's denial of defendant's motion for a sentence reduction under Sentencing Guideline Amendment 782, 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2). The court held that the district court erred in holding that defendant was categorically ineligible for resentencing. In this case, the sentencing record documented that the later-amended base offense level provision was the starting point and a relevant factor in the sentence the district court imposed. Under Hughes v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 1765 (2018), this was enough to open the resentencing door to defendant. Furthermore, the district court's alternative holding that a resentencing was not warranted contradicted its original finding that defendant's crime was nonviolent, and lacked the personalized analysis required to permit meaningful appellate review. View "United States v. Smith" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed Defendant Homedew's conviction for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and Defendant Carr's sentence for possession of methamphetamine. The court held that the district court did not err by denying Homedew's motion to suppress evidence where it found that Homedew voluntarily consented to a search of his backpack; Homedew's ineffective assistance of counsel claim was premature in this direct appeal; and Homedew's additional pro se arguments were without merit. The court also held that Carr's 190 month sentence was substantively reasonable and the district court did not abuse its discretion. View "United States v. Carr" on Justia Law

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Factors that have already been taken into account in calculating the advisory Guidelines range can nevertheless form the basis of a variance. The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's resentence on remand from the district court. Defendant was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and the district court sentenced him to the statutory maximum of 120 months in prison. The court held that the district court did not err by applying an upward variance of 83 months from the high end of the Sentencing Range. The sentence in this case was supported by factors not accounted for, either in full or in part, by the Guidelines. The district court also did not err by considering the sentencing factors, including defendant's extensive adult criminal record and likelihood of recidivism. Therefore, defendant's sentence, even if it was in the highest criminal history category, was not substantively unreasonable. View "United States v. Thorne" on Justia Law

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On remand from the United States Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit vacated defendant's sentence and remanded for resentencing in light of Hughes v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 1765 (2018). The district court had denied defendant's motion for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2) based on Amendment 782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which lowered the base offense levels in the drug quantity table of U.S.S.G. 2D1.1(c). In Hughes, the Supreme Court abrogated this circuit's holding in United States v. Benitez, 822 F.3d 807, 810 (5th Cir. 2016), and held that a sentence imposed pursuant to a Rule 11(c) or "Type-C" plea agreement was typically based on the sentencing guideline range because the court must first evaluate the stipulated sentence in light of the defendant's sentencing guideline range. The Court further held that a sentence imposed pursuant to a Type–C agreement is based on the defendant's Guidelines range so long as that range was part of the framework the district court relied on in imposing the sentence or accepting the agreement. In this case, defendant entered into a Type-C agreement and his sentence was based on his guideline range because it was part of the framework the court relied upon in imposing his sentence. View "United States v. Armstead" on Justia Law