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At issue in this case was a Family Court order adjudging appellant Joseph Baker, Jr., a minor child, delinquent for having committed an act of Rape in the Second Degree. Initially, Baker was charged with three counts of Rape in the Second Degree. Count Two was voluntarily dismissed by the State before trial. At trial, the Family Court judge found Baker delinquent on Count One and acquitted him on Count Three. On appeal, Baker argued the judgment of delinquency for the one count of Rape in the Second Degree should be reversed because of evidentiary errors made by the Family Court judge at trial. The Delaware Supreme Court agreed that errors were made and reversal was required. View "Baker v. Delaware" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal affirmed defendant's conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury within 10 years of a prior driving under the influence offense. Defendant alleged that the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress statements she made to police during field sobriety tests administered at the police station, in violation of her Fifth Amendment rights under Miranda v. Arizona. The court held that Pennsylvania v. Muniz, (1990) 496 U.S. 582, foreclosed defendant's argument as to the first four of the six statements at issue. The court held that asking a DUI suspect to perform physical tests is not an "interrogation." Likewise, defendant's challenge to the fifth statement failed for similar reasons. Furthermore, any error in denying defendant's challenge to the sixth statement -- her estimate of 23 seconds on the modified Romberg test when in fact 30 seconds had elapsed -- was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. View "People v. Cooper" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted petitioner Tony Arroyo of one count of attempted second degree robbery and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. It also found true two prior serious felony allegations, two strike allegations, and four one-year prior prison commitment allegations. The trial court imposed an indeterminate 35-years-to-life sentence: 25 years to life under the Three-Strikes law on the attempted robbery charge, plus a 10-year sentence for the serious felony priors. Sentencing on the assault charge and the four one- year prison commitment allegations was stayed. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment on direct appeal. Arroyo filed a habeas corpus petition in the superior court challenging the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) regulations that at the time made three strike offenders serving an indeterminate sentence for a nonviolent offense ineligible for early parole consideration under Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016. The superior court denied the petition because Arroyo failed to exhaust his administrative remedies by not first seeking review through CDCR’s Inmate Appeal Process. Arroyo then filed a similar habeas corpus petition with the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal thereafter asked for an informal response from CDCR, the Attorney General responded, and Arroyo filed a reply. The Court issued an order to show cause why it should not grant the relief requested in the petition. The Attorney General filed a return and Arroyo, represented by counsel, filed a traverse. Thereafter, the Court received supplemental briefing from the parties. The Court discharged its order to show cause, and denied the petition as moot. View "In re Arroyo" on Justia Law

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Bobby Osbourne was convicted of aggravated assault, following a jury trial. Osbourne appealed, claiming that his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for numerous reasons: (1) for failing to move for a mistrial after discovering at trial that the handwritten notes taken by one of investigators, who had taken a statement from Osbourne, had not been provided to Osbourne’s defense before trial; (2) for failing to investigate possible exculpatory evidence; (3) for failing to perfect Osbourne’s direct appeal; and (4) for failing to obtain video evidence that corroborated Osbourne’s trial testimony. The State argued the only ineffective-assistance claim that could be addressed on this record was the claim that Osbourne’s trial counsel failed to perfect a direct appeal from Osbourne’s conviction. Accordingly, the State declined to stipulate that the record was adequate to address Osbourne’s remaining ineffective-assistance claims. The Mississippi Supreme Court agreed with the State: given the record before the Supreme Court, it addressed only the ineffective-assistance claim pertaining to trial counsel’s purported failure to perfect a direct appeal, and found no merit to Osbourne’s contention it entitled him to relief. View "Osbourne v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Posada, a licensed chiropractor, owned and operated Spine Clinics, a Medicare-enrolled provider. Posada was indicted for a scheme to defraud Medicare and other insurers by submitting fraudulent claims and falsely representing that certain health care services were provided. The prosecution presented evidence that Posada billed the insurers for deceased patients and services never performed, created fake files, and failed to document the actual services rendered. Witnesses from Medicare and an insurer testified regarding the thousands of claims submitted. Two physical therapists also testified about the services they performed for Spine Clinics, how they billed Posada, and that they never performed many of the services for which he charged. Convicted of 18 counts of health care fraud, Posada’s PSR indicated an offense level of 26, based on a $4,087,736 loss amount, and recommended a term of incarceration of 63-78 months. To calculate that amount the prosecution reviewed Spine Clinic's files and when no treatment documentation was present, the amount billed was treated as a loss. The prosecution credited Posada with treating 20 patients a day, three days a week every week during the period of the fraud. Posada argued for an estimate of 25-26 patients per day and a loss amount less than $3.5 million. The district court accepted the government’s calculation and found a loss amount of $4,087,736. The Seventh Circuit affirmed that amount and Posada’s 60-month sentence, noting that the calculation was supported by the evidence at trial. View "United States v. Posada" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, an indigent state prisoner, filed three pro se civil rights actions in the district court against various employees of the South Carolina Department of Corrections and the City of Allendale. The Fourth Circuit joined the Ninth and Tenth Circuits to reaffirm that a district court's dismissal of a prisoner's complaint does not, in an appeal of that dismissal, qualify as a "prior" dismissal. Accordingly, plaintiff's motions to proceed in forma pauperis under the Prison Litigation Reform Act are granted. View "Taylor v. Grubbs" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted Petitioner's petition for a writ of mandamus challenging the judgment of the district court increasing Petitioner's bail from $25,000 to $100,000, holding that the district court failed to engage in a meaningful analysis to determine whether good cause was shown. In his petition, Petitioner argued that the district court lacked good cause to support the increase of his bail. The Supreme Court held that writ relief was warranted because (1) the district court increased the bail after making an initial bail determination, and therefore, the court was required to make a finding of good cause under Nev. Rev. Stat. 178.499(1) for the subsequent increase in bail; and (2) the district court acted arbitrarily and capriciously in increasing Petitioner's bail without explaining the good cause shown. View "Cameron v. District Court" on Justia Law

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Petitioner sought review of the BIA's order denying his untimely motion to reopen his removal proceedings. Petitioner alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel during his removal proceedings. The BIA agreed that petitioner's prior counsel performed deficiently, but denied the motion to reopen after concluding that he failed to show prejudice. The Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review with respect to petitioner's claims for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) and relief under former 8 U.S.C. 212(c). The panel held that the BIA analyzed petitioner's new prejudice evidence under standards more stringent than were proper. Although the more-likely-than-not standard governs the merits of a CAT claim, in the context of a motion to reopen for ineffective assistance, the petitioner need not show that he would win or lose on any claims. Rather, the question with respect to prejudice is whether counsel's deficient performance may have affected the outcome of the proceedings, which means that the petitioner need only show plausible grounds for relief. The panel denied the petition for review with respect to all other claims and held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in rejecting petitioner's claims. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Flores v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The en banc court granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of cancellation of removal. The BIA held that petitioner failed to demonstrate that her prior conviction was not for a disqualifying federal offense and therefore had not met her burden of showing that she was eligible for cancellation of removal. The en banc court held that, in the context of eligibility for cancellation of removal under 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b), a petitioner's state-law conviction does not bar relief where the record is ambiguous as to whether the conviction constitutes a disqualifying predicate offense. The en banc court held that the statute under which petitioner was convicted was overbroad at the time of her conviction. The en banc court overruled its decision in Young v. Holder, 697 F.3d 976 (9th Cir. 2012) (en banc), that, under Moncrieffe v. Holder, 569 U.S. 184 (2013), an ambiguous record of conviction does not demonstrate that a petitioner was convicted of a disqualifying federal offense. Accordingly, the panel reversed and remanded. View "Marinelarena v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court issued a writ of mandate directing the trial court to vacate its order denying Petitioner's request to release ballistics evidence for expert testimony in preparation for filing a habeas corpus petition, holding that the trial court erred in denying the request based solely in Petitioner's failure to establish good cause. Petitioner was sentenced to death for the first degree murders of two victims. In preparation for filing a habeas corpus petition, Petitioner filed his request for the ballistics evidence. The superior court denied Petitioner's request to release ballistics evidence for expert testimony under the authority of Cal. Penal Code 1054.9, which governs discovery in habeas corpus proceedings involving certain judgments, including a sentence of death. The court found specifically that Petitioner had failed to show good cause to believe his access to the evidence was reasonably necessary to obtain relief. The Supreme Court vacated the order, holding that, under the statute, a threshold showing of good cause is not required. View "Satele v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County" on Justia Law