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The Fifth Circuit denied petitioner a certificate of appealability (COA), dismissed his appeal for lack of jurisdiction, and sanctioned him for appealing his collateral attack on his conviction. The court held that a denial of a motion to quash a writ of execution under 28 U.S.C. 1291 is a final decision. The court affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's request to quash the government's writ of execution. The court held that the statutes governing restitution granted petitioner the right to reduce his restitution order based on subsequent civil judgments. However, the court rejected petitioner's collateral attack on the restitution order and held that he did not meet the evidentiary requirements of 18 U.S.C. 3664(j)(2). View "United States v. Parker" on Justia Law

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Three-month-old J.J. was left in the care of his father, Felton, for the first time. Others visited during the day. That night, J.J. was rushed to the hospital. Doctors discovered that J.J. had a skull fracture, bleeding in his brain, and retinal hemorrhages. J.J. died. Felton was taken to jail on a probation hold. Felton told police that J.J. had hit his head in the bathtub. Another inmate, House, testified that Felton said he had swung J.J. into a bathroom door. Two treating physicians testified that J.J.’s death was, in part, due to shaking. The medical examiner concluded that blunt force trauma was the cause of death. Felton was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide. Felton unsuccessfully sought post‐conviction relief in Wisconsin state courts based on ineffective assistance of counsel, citing his attorney’s failure to object to the prosecutor’s closing argument statement that House could not receive a sentence modification for his testimony, and the attorney’s failure to secure medical expert testimony. At the post‐conviction hearing, three medical experts testified J.J. had not been shaken and J.J.’s injuries were consistent with a fall of two to four feet. The district court and Seventh Circuit denied Felton’s petition for habeas relief. The state court was not unreasonable in concluding that Felton was not prejudiced; there was no substantial likelihood of a different result had counsel objected to the closing argument statement. The habeas medical testimony would not have supported the claim that J.J.’s death was caused by his bathtub fall. View "Felton v. Bartow" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit held that Chapter 313 of Title 18, and 18 U.S.C. 4248 in particular, did not authorize the district court to dismiss the section 4248 proceeding against respondent on the ground that he was found to be mentally incompetent. The court also held that section 4248 does not violate the Due Process Clause and that the risk of an erroneous deprivation of respondent's liberty interest is substantially and adequately mitigated by the broad array of procedures required for a section 4248 commitment, particularly as they apply to incompetent persons. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's judgment and remanded with instructions that the district court promptly conduct a section 4248 hearing to determine whether respondent is sexually dangerous and therefore must be committed to the custody of the Attorney General. View "United States v. White" on Justia Law

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Senn testified that he saw Winkler and Jenkins in his yard. Jenkins dropped a gasoline jug and ran into the woods with Winkler. Senn told his wife, Sherri, to call the police and fired shots into the woods. Senn smelled gasoline and saw that it had been poured on his porch, the side of his house, and on his cars. Sherri testified that her brother, Abercrombie, had a long-running feud with Winkler. Abercrombie lived approximately 100 yards from her house. Sherri testified that, days before the incident, her sister-in-law played for her a voicemail message from Winkler, stating: “You are going to die, you are going to burn.” Winkler unsuccessfully moved to impeach Senn with his previous felony conviction for reckless endangerment. Winkler unsuccessfully objected to Sherri’s testimony as inadmissible character evidence. Convicted of two counts of attempted first-degree murder and for attempted aggravated arson, Winkler appealed. His counsel filed the trial record, except for the transcript of his motion for a new trial. Without it, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reviewed the evidentiary issues for plain error, found none, and affirmed; that court also denied Winkler’s post-conviction petition, stating that counsel's failure to prepare an adequate appellate record does not, alone, amount to ineffective assistance. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the denial of his habeas petition, rejecting his argument that under Supreme Court precedent (Entsminger (1967)), failure to file a portion of the record entitled him to presumed prejudice in the ineffective-assistance analysis. View "Winkler v. Parris" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit treated respondent's petition for rehearing en banc as a petition for panel rehearing and granted it, withdrawing the court's prior opinion and substituting the following. The court affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's federal application for post-conviction relief and denial of further investigative funding. The court held that no Supreme Court precedent holds that Miranda violations are not subject to harmless-error analysis, and the Court of Criminal Appeals' (CCA) decision to apply harmless-error analysis did not conflict with clearly established federal law. Furthermore, the CCA did not unreasonably apply Chapman v. California. Finally, the district court did not improperly deny petitioner investigative funding under 18 U.S.C. 3599(f) where the district court viewed the request for additional funding as effectively seeking a full retrial of the issues already litigated in the state court. View "Jones v. Davis" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254 on petitioner's claims relating to his first degree murder conviction and death sentence. The panel held that Rule 32.2(a) of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure is independent of federal law and adequate to warrant preclusion of federal review. Therefore, the panel may not review petitioner's judicial bias claim unless he establishes cause and prejudice. In this case, petitioner failed to demonstrate cause to overcome the procedural default of his claim and the panel need not address prejudice. The panel also affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claim, because trial counsel did not perform deficiently by not moving for a judge's recusal and appellate counsel's failure to raise issues on direct appeal did not constitute ineffective assistance when appeal would not have provided grounds for reversal. Furthermore, petitioner did not establish cause and prejudice to overcome the procedural default of his Brady claim; the panel lacked jurisdiction to review the denial of petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion; challenges to the jury instructions denied; and remaining claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and sentencing claims rejected. View "Martinez v. Ryan" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's convictions for burglary, stealing drugs, and violation of a condition of release, holding that the trial court did not err when it denied Defendant's motion to suppress al evidence obtained as a result of the State's acquisition of Defendant's cell phone's location information (CSLI). Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) because Defendant lacked standing to challenge evidence obtained as a result of the acquisition of a coperpetrator's CLSI, which was the same evidence Defendant sought to exclude based on the acquisition of his own CSLI, this Court need not decide whether the acquisition of Defendant's CSLI was a search under the Fourth Amendment; (2) whether the State violated Defendant's rights under Maine's Electronic Device Location information Act, 16 Me. Rev. Stat. 647 to 650-B, was irrelevant to whether the court erred in denying Defendant's motion to suppress; and (3) the entry into and search of Defendant's residence were lawful. View "State v. O'Donnell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court dismissing Defendant's petition for post-conviction review as untimely filed, holding that, contrary to Defendant's contention on appeal, the court was not precluded from summarily dismissing the petition based on the statutory filing deadline. Defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs and illegal importation of scheduled drugs. Defendant filed a petition for postconviction review seeking to collaterally attack his conviction on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial counsel dismissed the petition as untimely filed. On appeal, Defendant argued that the court erred in determining that there is no duty imposed on trial counsel or the sentencing court to inform Defendant about the deadlines for filing a post-conviction review petition. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding (1) this Court declines Defendant's invitation to impose a new obligation on sentencing courts to inform defendants about the filing deadline set out in Me. Rev. Stat. 15, 2128-B; (2) trial counsel's failure to inform Defendant of the filing deadline for post-conviction review petitions did not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel or preclude enforcement of the filing deadline. View "Roque v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of manslaughter after a conditional guilty plea, holding that the State provided sufficient evidence, independent of Defendant's multiple confessions, to establish corpus delicti for the alleged homicide of Defendant's infant son. On appeal, the Court held (1) the trial court made several factual findings, supported by competent evidence in the record, that were sufficient to establish a substantial belief that the infant's death was a result of criminal agency; and (2) there was no reason to depart from the well-established corpus delicti doctrine and to adopt the federal "trustworthiness" standard. View "State v. Hagar" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's finding that petitioner was removable and denial of his applications for cancellation of removal and adjustment of status. The court held that, because it has previously upheld the BIA's determination that child endangerment offenses fall within the Immigration and Nationality Act's (INA) crime of child abuse provision, the court agreed with the district court that New York law -- which criminalizes conduct that poses a likelihood of physical, mental, or moral harm to a child -- falls within the BIA's definition. Therefore, petitioner's New York convictions for endangering the welfare of a child were crimes of child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment under the INA. View "Matthews v. Barr" on Justia Law