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U.S. Supreme Court, March 08, 2010 Bloate v. US, No. 08–728 In a drug and firearm possession prosecution, the Eighth Circuit’s order affirming the district court’s denial of defendant’s motion to dismiss the indictment on Speedy Trial Act grounds is reversed where the time granted to prepare pretrial motions was not automatically excludable from the 70-day limit under 18 U.S.C. section 3161(h)(1), and such time may be excluded only when a district court grants a continuance based on appropriate findings under subsection (h)(7).
U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, March 11, 2010 Peralta v. US, No. 08-1765 In proceedings involving defendant’s pro se motion under 28 U.S.C. section 2255 to vacate his sentence on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel in connection with his guilty plea, sentencing, and direct appeal, the district court’s denial of the motion is affirmed where: 1) the district court did not commit err in finding that defendant was not denied constitutionally effective assistance of counsel; and 2) defendant’s other issues outside the certificate of appealability are waived.
U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, March 11, 2010 US v. Mejia, No. 08-2505 Defendant’s conviction and sentence for conspiring to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime are affirmed where: 1) district court did not err in denying defendant’s motion to suppress his incriminating statements; 2) defendant’s evidentiary claims are rejected as there was no abuse of discretion in admitting any of the evidence; and 3) district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant’s motion for a new trial.
U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, March 08, 2010 US v. Navas, No. 09-1144 In a drug conspiracy prosecution, the district court’s order, suppressing narcotics seized by law enforcement officers during a warrantless search of a trailer, is reversed where the search was lawful under the “automobile exception” to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.
U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, March 10, 2010 US v. Gardner, No. 08-4793 Defendants’ drug and firearm possession convictions are affirmed where, when a defendant acquires a firearm using drugs as payment, he possesses the firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 924(c)(1)(A).
U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, March 10, 2010 Cameron v. N.Y., No. 08-5937 In an action for false arrest and malicious prosecution, judgment for defendant-officers is reversed where: 1) prosecutors’ opinions as to probable cause and complaining officers’ credibility are irrelevant in virtually all cases involving claims of malicious prosecution; and 2) the introduction of such evidence was not harmless because it provided strong external validation for propositions that otherwise would have come in only from the defendants’ mouths.
U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, March 11, 2010 US v. Awad, No. 07-4483 In defendants’ appeal from an order of criminal forfeiture against defendants pursuant to 21 U.S.C. section 853, the order is affirmed where section 853 permits imposition of a money judgment on a defendant who possesses no assets at the time of sentencing.
U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, March 12, 2010 US v. DeAndrade, No. 08-4815 Defendant’s drug conspiracy conviction and sentence are affirmed where: 1) a brief and fleeting comment on the defendant’s incarceration during trial, without more, did not impair the presumption of innocence to such an extent that a mistrial is required; 2) the government never relied upon certain challenged testimony, and a curative instruction could easily have done more harm than good by focusing the jurors on two allusive references that they otherwise might have missed or construed as innocuous; and 3) defendant’s sentence was unaffected by his juvenile drug offense.
U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, March 09, 2010 US v. Stearn , No. 08-3230 Following a grand jury indictment of defendants for federal narcotics and weapons offenses, district court’s order granting in part motions to suppress evidence in favor of defendants is, with one irrelevant exception, reversed in its entirety where: 1) the magistrate judge had a substantial basis for determining that probable cause existed to search the apparent residence of a confirmed drug dealer; 2) although closer probable cause questions are presented by the searches of other residences, each search is upheld under the Leon good faith exception as each warrant was sufficiently colored in probable cause to justify the executing officers’ good faith reliance; and 3) the suppression of a defendant’s saliva sample as “fruit of poisonous tree” is reversed as the defendant failed to prove a primary invasion of his own Fourth Amendment rights.
U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 08, 2010 US v. McNeil , No. 09-4083 In a conviction of defendant for unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, district court’s imposition of a sentence as an armed career criminal is affirmed where: 1) defendant’s previous felony drug convictions were punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least ten years both at the time he committed the offenses and at the time of his federal sentencing; 2) district court’s upward departure was not procedurally or substantively unreasonable; and 3) the sentence was reasonable.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 08, 2010 US v. Miller, No. 08-11186 Dismissal of defendant’s petition for a writ of audita querela challenging a restitution order, arising from his conviction for conducting a monetary transaction with criminally-derived funds and evading income tax, is affirmed where: 1) if it still exists, the writ of audita querela can only be applied to rectify a judgment which, though correct when rendered, has since become infirm; and 2) since all parties to this case agree that the district court’s restitution order was initially correct, and because the statute does not require the order to be modified every time a subsequent payment is made on a restitution obligation, there is no infirmity in defendant’s judgment for a writ of audita querela to rectify.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 09, 2010 US v. Banegas, No. 08-10915 Defendant’s drug conspiracy conviction is reversed where the trial court failed to state particularized reasons for requiring defendant to be shackled while defending himself pro se.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 09, 2010 US v. York, No. 09-40309 Defendant’s conviction and sentence for arson and carrying a destructive device are affirmed where: 1) there was sufficient evidence that the fire at issue was intentionally set; 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying defendant’s motion for a mistrial, because defendant failed to show that he was prejudiced by a jury note requesting to hear again defendant’s confession; and 3) evidence that defendant had harmed his girlfriend went to issues other than defendant’s character because it explained that she withheld information from the police due to her fear of defendant’s threats.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 10, 2010 US v. Valencia, No. 08-20546 Defendants’ wire fraud convictions arising from alleged efforts to manipulate natural gas markets are affirmed where: 1) the extensive, incriminating in-court testimony provided by a witness and others, in conjunction with inculpatory, properly admitted exhibits, heavily dampened the magnitude of whatever prejudicial effect an erroneously admitted whistle-blower letter had upon the jury; 2) because a witness’s knowledge and analysis were derived from duties he held at defendants’ employer, his opinions were admissible as testimony based upon personal knowledge and experience gained while employed there; 3) the district court did not err in allowing the government’s expert to testify about the tendency of defendants’ false trade reports to affect the indices published by Inside FERC and NGI.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 10, 2010 US v. Thomas, No. 09-30426 Defendant’s firearm possession sentence, following the revocation of his supervised release, is vacated where: 1) the PROTECT Act amendment to 18 U.S.C. section 3583(e)(3) did not apply retroactively; and 2) defendant served 24 months of imprisonment upon the first revocation of his supervised release, and, therefore, could not be sentenced to a further term of imprisonment upon the second revocation of his supervised release under the version of section 3583(e)(3) applicable to him.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 12, 2010 US v. McMillan, No. 08-31148 Defendant’s wire and mail fraud convictions and sentences are affirmed where: 1) the superseding indictment did not broaden the charges against the defendants; 2) Cleveland’s requirement that the object of the fraud be actual money or property in the hands of the victim was satisfied; 3) the district court gave an immediate curative instruction, in response to objections during the prosecutor’s closing remarks, that the government bore the burden of proof and the defendants need not testify or prove anything; and 4) the district court did not clearly err by finding that defendants’ business would have suffered catastrophic losses had it been closed rather then permitted to continue in operation and that the amount of loss attributable solely to the defendants could not be reasonably calculated.
U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 10, 2010 US v. Almany , No. 08-6027 In a prosecution of defendant for drug and firearm related offenses, the case is remanded for resentencing where: 1) the district court committed plain error by failing to probe defendant’s understanding of the appellate waiver provision of his plea agreement, and therefore, the waiver is unenforceable against the defendant; and 2) the district court erred by sentencing defendant to both a five-year mandatory minimum sentence under the firearm statute and a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence under the drug statute.
U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 12, 2010 Colvin v. Sheets , No. 08-4353 In habeas proceedings involving a defendant convicted of attempted murder and felonious assault, district court’s judgment finding that a state court unreasonably applied Supreme Court precedent when it determined that the trial court’s declaration of a mistrial was manifestly necessary (and therefore not a violation of petitioner’s Fifth Amendment rights) is reversed where the district court not only failed to abide by the deference required of Washington itself, but violated the AEDPA in concluding that the state court unreasonably applied Washington.
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 09, 2010 US v. Salem , No. 08-2378 In a prosecution of defendants for wire fraud and receiving stolen funds, district court’s sentences based on relevant conduct findings are remanded as the district court made findings as to the reasonableness of the co-schemers’ acts only, but it made no finding as to the scope of the jointly undertaken criminal activity under U.S.S.G. section 1B1.3(a)(1)(B).
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 10, 2010 US v. Oglesby, No. 09-1334 In a prosecution for being a felon in possession of a firearm, district court’s denial of defendant’s motion to suppress is affirmed as, based on the factors on the record and the totality of the circumstances, the officer clearly had articulable facts upon which he could reasonably suspect that defendant was armed or dangerous. Moreover, the pat-down search was extremely limited in scope as the officer’s pat-down frisk of defendant was isolated to the right side of his waistband area.
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 11, 2010 US v. Neff, No. 08-3643 In a prosecution of defendant for possession of a firearm by a felon and given an enhanced sentence as an armed career criminal, district court’s denial of defendant’s motion for sentence modification is affirmed where: 1) the time limits in Rule 4(b) are claim-processing rules that can be waived or forfeited; and 2) Amendment 709 substantively changed the sentencing guidelines and it was not made retroactive, and as such, defendant is ineligible for reduction of his sentence.
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 12, 2010 Gray v. Hardy, No. 07-3704 In defendant’s petition for habeas relief from his conviction for first-degree murder and sentence to an extended-term based on a finding that the murder was exceptionally brutal of heinous, denial of the petition is affirmed as defendant procedurally defaulted each of his claims and even if he adequately preserved his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel for federal review, he cannot show that counsel’s failure to raise Apprendi error caused him prejudice.
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 12, 2010 US v. Sykes, No. 08-3624 Conviction of defendant for being a felon in possession of a firearm and an enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminla Act (ACCA) are affirmed as fleeing from police in a vehicle in violation of Ind. Code section 35-44-3-3(b)(1)(A) is sufficiently similar to ACCA’s enumerated crimes in kind, as well as the degree of risk posed, and counts as a violent felony under the ACCA.
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 12, 2010 US v. Jackson, No. 09-2279 Conviction of defendant for being a felon in possession of a firearm and sentence to 120 months’ imprisonment are affirmed where: 1) the officer had a reasonable basis for believing that defendant’s mother had the authority to consent to the search of his computer and the computer case; 2) district court properly concluded that the officer did not exceed the scope of the mother’s consent; 3) the district court did not err in denying defendant’s request to raise an “innocent possession” defense; and 4) district court appropriately rejected defendant’s section 5K2.11 argument and imposed a sentence that was reasonable.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 08, 2010 US v. Bolden, No. 08-3835 Defendants’ drug conspiracy convictions and sentences are affirmed where: 1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in erring on the side of caution by dismissing a juror when the juror had contact with an interested third party whose identity was known to the juror; 2) evidence that a defendant acted as a source and facilitated a transaction was sufficient for a conviction under the distribution statute; 3) given that defendant did not object to the drug quantity findings at sentencing, and that the evidence at trial supported amounts close to those in the presentence investigation report upon which the district court relied, the findings were adequate under the circumstances; and 4) the evidence at trial showed that defendant recruited members of the conspiracy and directed those members to distribute drugs.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 08, 2010 US v. Granados, No. 09-1570 Defendant’s drug conspiracy conviction and sentence are affirmed where: 1) the police were justified in entering defendant’s room without a warrant because of their reasonable belief that it was necessary to protect the general public, hotel guests and employees; 2) the mere fact some of the men in a police lineup had facial hair like defendant did not, standing alone, indicate that the lineup was suggestive; and 3) the government gave racially neutral reasons for exercising its peremptory challenges to all three of the potential jurors defendant claimed the government struck in violation of Batson.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 10, 2010 US v. Wilder, No. 08-3056 Defendants’ drug conspiracy convictions and sentences are affirmed where: 1) the district court did not err in excluding a document as hearsay because a witness was unable to verify that the proffered document was a public record created by the police department; 2) the government established that defendant knowingly and intentionally joined an agreement to distribute controlled substances; 3) the court was not convinced that the trial record presented an obvious case of a defendant with no predisposition to distribute crack cocaine, such that the district court plainly erred by failing to instruct the jury on entrapment; and 4) the district court explained that it had considered all of the 18 U.S.C. section 3553(a) factors, including the nature and circumstances of the offense and defendant’s history and characteristics.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 10, 2010 Clos v. Corrections Corp. of Am., No. 09-1816 In an action by a prisoner claiming that he suffered disability discrimination related to his severe hearing loss, plaintiff’s appeal from partial summary judgment for defendants is dismissed where the district court’s conclusory order provided no basis for a finding that plaintiff would face hardship or injustice by waiting to appeal until his remaining claim against defendants was fully resolved.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 11, 2010 US v. Shuler, No. 08-3194 Defendants’ sentences for child pornography-related offenses are affirmed where: 1) the district court’s explicit statement that “the ultimate sentence of 470 months would be the same even without the four-level increase for sadistic images and other depictions of violence” cured any procedural error; and 2) even if defendant was ignorant of a hidden camera, the tape recorded on the camera was ample evidence defendant enticed the minor victim to produce child pornography.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 11, 2010 US v. Akens, No. 09-1695 Defendant’s drug and firearm possession conviction are affirmed where: 1) defendant’s prior Missouri conviction was a sufficient predicate for his 18 U.S.C. section 922(g)(1) conviction, despite its expungement; 2) defendant was not entitled to a Franks hearing because he did not make a substantial preliminary showing; and 3) defendant knowingly and voluntarily waived his rights to appeal the firearm enhancement and the career offender status in exchange for a 140-month sentence.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 11, 2010 US v. Dodd, No. 09-1946 Defendant’s sentence for knowingly receiving and possessing child pornography is affirmed where: 1) absent concrete evidence of ignorance — evidence that was needed because ignorance was entirely counterintuitive — a fact-finder could reasonably infer that the defendant knowingly employed a file sharing program for its intended purpose; and 2) the district court committed no procedural error in determining defendant’s advisory guidelines sentencing range.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 08, 2010 Rhoades v. Henry (Haddon), No. 07-35808 In a capital habeas matter, denial of the petition is affirmed where: 1) the deposition testimony and affidavits of both counsel supported the district court’s finding that petitioner failed to show that defense counsel lacked the information contained in an allegedly withheld report; 2) petitioner pointed to no evidence that the judge was unable to preside over his case in a fair and impartial manner; and 3) petitioner offered insufficient authority to justify the application of a heightened standard of reliability to guilt phase issues. .
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 08, 2010 Rhoades v. Henry (Baldwin), No. 07-99022 In a capital habeas matter, denial of petitioner’s petition is affirmed where: 1) an allegedly exculpatory confession by another witness was not reliable and was thus appropriately excluded; 2) there was no Brady violation when a defendant possessed the information that he claims was withheld; 3) defendant’s statement that “I did it” came after his handcuffs were removed and while petitioner was being booked at the station, and in these circumstances no Mosley error occurred; and 4) the aggravating circumstances were too strong, and the new mitigating evidence added too little, to create a reasonable probability of a different outcome absent defense counsel’s alleged ineffectiveness.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 08, 2010 Rhoades v. Henry (Michelbacher), No. 07-99023 In a capital habeas matter, denial of petitioner’s petition is affirmed where: 1) no Brady violation could occur when a defendant possessed the information that he claims was withheld; 2) petitioner offered no support for his assertion that the district court should have held an evidentiary hearing on the Brady claim; and 3) it was not reasonably likely that a challenged instruction, in context of the instructions overall, caused the jury to misapply the state’s burden of proof.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 08, 2010 US v. Arias-Ordonez, No. 08-10259 In a prosecution for reentry following removal from the U.S., the dismissal of the indictment is affirmed where the order instructing defendant to report for removal misinformed him that he had no administrative remedies and he was never told that he had a right to reopen to seek voluntary departure. ..
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 08, 2010 US v. Molina, No. 09-10066 Defendant’s sentence for transporting an illegal alien is affirmed where: 1) because there was no evidence of involuntariness, the district court properly admitted the hearsay evidence at defendant’s sentencing hearing pursuant to a signed stipulation; and 2) the conflicting evidence weighed against a finding that defendant accepted responsibility for his actions. ..
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 09, 2010 Espinosa v. City & County of San Francisco, No. 08-16853 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action claiming excessive force by defendants-officers, denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity is affirmed where: 1) defendants failed to show as a matter of law that plaintiff’s decedent did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy; 2) the district court properly found that defendants failed to show as a matter of law that the emergency and exigency exceptions to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement applied; 3) defendants failed to show that there were no questions of fact regarding whether a security guard had apparent authority to consent and implied consent; and 4) the district court did not err in finding that there were genuine issues of fact regarding whether the officers intentionally or recklessly provoked a confrontation.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 09, 2010 US v. Cha, No. 09-10147 In a prosecution for conspiracy, sex trafficking and coercion, and enticement to travel for the purpose of prostitution, a grant of defendants’ motion to suppress evidence is affirmed where the warrantless seizure of defendants’ residence, which lasted a minimum of 26.5 hours, was constitutionally unreasonable.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 10, 2010 Valdovinos v. McGrath, No. 08-15918 In a murder prosecution, a denial of petitioner’s habeas petition is reversed in part where a reasonable probability existed that the undisclosed Brady material, which included evidence of prior photo lineups, the drugs and gun found in a government witness’s possession, and the favorable treatment the witness received for his testimony, could have altered the result of the trial.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 11, 2010 Tijani v. Holder, No. 05-70195 Petition for review of the BIA’s denial of petitioner’s asylum application is granted in part where the court was required to remand to the BIA to address the questions of whether petitioner would be in danger of persecution on account of his religion or would be entitled to other relief. However, the petition is denied in part where petitioner’s credit card fraud in violation of Cal. Penal Code section 532a(1) constituted a crime of moral turpitude.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 11, 2010 Stanley v. Schriro, No. 06-99009 In a capital habeas matter, a denial of the petition is affirmed in part where defense counsel’s performance did not prejudice petitioner during the guilt phase of his trial. However, denial of the petition is reversed in part where trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance during the penalty phase of trial by failing to investigate and present readily available mitigating evidence and that failure was prejudicial.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 12, 2010 Morton v. Hall, No. 07-55574 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action alleging that prison officials’ deliberate indifference contributed to a violent assault on plaintiff by inmates, dismissal of the complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies is affirmed where the grievance filed by plaintiff was insufficient to put prison officials on notice of plaintiff’s complaint that prison-staff conduct contributed to his assault. .
U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 08, 2010 US v. Chavez-Suarez, No. 09-1005 Defendant’s sentence for reentering the country following deportation after a conviction for a drug trafficking offense is affirmed where, in light of all of the evidence in the record, including defendant’s past illegal reentries and certain aggravating factors in his underlying drug-trafficking conviction, the imposition of a guidelines-range sentence did not manifest a clear error of judgment by the district court.
U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 09, 2010 US v. Wise, No. 08-4033 Defendant’s firearm possession sentence is affirmed where: 1) defendant’s prior conviction under Utah law for failure to stop at the command of a police officer was a “crime of violence” under the Sentencing Guidelines; and 2) the district court erred in not assigning criminal history points for one of defendant’s prior convictions, but that error did not invalidate defendant’s sentence. ..
U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 09, 2010 Zia Trust Co. v. Montoya, No. 09-2006 In an action for excessive force brought by family members of a man defendant-officer shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance, denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity is affirmed where the court could not say that a van fifteen feet away, which according to the plaintiffs was clearly stuck on a pile of rocks, gave defendant probable cause to believe that there was a threat of serious physical harm to himself or others that would justify his use of force.
U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 10, 2010 US v. Fisher, No. 09-6142 Defendant’s firearm possession conviction is affirmed where police had probable cause to detain defendant because they were responding to a 911 call late at night, in a high crime area, with every reason to suspect gunplay, and the only vehicle at the scene looked as if it was about to depart.
U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 08, 2010 US v. Brummer, No. 09-13613 In defendant’s appeal from the district court’s order that he forfeit two firearms and six rounds of ammunition pursuant to his conviction of knowingly and willfully failing to declare firearms to a common carrier, the order is affirmed where the indictment charging defendant with violating 18 U.S.C. section 922(e) included a notice of forfeiture, and thus the district court therefore was required to order forfeiture of the property.
U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 10, 2010 US v. Ternus, No. 08-15687 Defendant’s conviction for conspiracy to transport in foreign commerce stolen goods valued at $5,000 or more, knowing the goods to have been stolen, is affirmed where: 1) defendant’s guilty plea waived all non-jurisdictional defects in the proceedings against him; and 2) the district court was not required to define “foreign commerce” in order to adequately explain the nature of the charges against him.
U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 11, 2010 US v. Davis, No. 08-16654 Defendant’s firearm possession conviction is affirmed where the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule allowed the use of evidence obtained in reasonable reliance on well-settled precedent, even though in this case the Supreme Court overruled that precedent in Arizona v. Gant.
U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 11, 2010 Rehberg v. Paulk, No. 09-11897 In an action for malicious prosecution, retaliatory investigation and prosecution, and evidence fabrication, a denial of defendants’ motion to dismiss based on absolute and qualified immunity is affirmed in part where plaintiff sufficiently alleged the requisite retaliatory motive, absence of probable cause, and but-for causation to state a retaliatory prosecution claim. However, the order is reversed in part where: 1) even if defendants knew one defendant’s testimony before a grand jury was false, they still received absolute immunity for the act of testifying to the grand jury; and 2) plaintiff’s voluntary delivery of emails to third parties constituted a voluntary relinquishment of the right to privacy in that information.
Supreme Court of California, March 08, 2010 People v. Lara , No. S155481 Following defendant’s prosecution for false imprisonment of a child, finding of not guilty by reason of insanity, and commitment to a state hospital, the judgment of the court of appeal directing that the trial court grant defendant’s motion to dismiss the petition for an extension of his commitment is reversed where: 1) the statutory deadline for filing an extension petition is directory, not mandatory, as long as the petition is filed before the expiration of the current commitment; 2) defendant was not entitled to a dismissal of the petition on due process grounds; and 3) upon motion, defendant would have been entitled under due process to release pending trial, subject to possible proceedings under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act. However, defendant is not now eligible for release because the court retained jurisdiction to try him and he received a fair trial.
Supreme Court of California, March 08, 2010 People v. Cobb , No. S159410 Following defendant’s completion of sentence for assault with a deadly weapon and commitment to a state hospital for treatment as a mentally disordered offender, the judgment of the court of appeals that the defendant was not denied due process in extension of his commitment is affirmed, as without a time waiver or good cause, section 2972 does not permit continued confinement when an extension trial does not begin before the scheduled release date. .
Supreme Court of California, March 11, 2010 People v. D’Arcy, No. S060500 On automatic appeal from the conviction of defendant for first-degree murder in which he was sentenced to death after retrial of the penalty phase (the jury deadlocked at the first penalty phase), trial court’s judgment is affirmed where: 1) defendant’s various pretrial issues, including that he was denied a meaningful competency hearing, are without merit; 2) defendant’s guilt phase issues including his argument that there was insufficient evidence to support his first degree torture-murder conviction because there was no evidence he formed the intent to inflict extreme and prolonged pain, fail as substantial evidence supports a conviction of first degree murder based on a theory of torture murder; 3) trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting pre-autopsy photographs of victim’s charred body; and 4) all of defendant’s penalty phase claims of error are rejected.
Supreme Court of Delaware, March 09, 2010 McNair v. State of Delaware, No. 387, 2009 Defendant’s convictions for third-degree burglary, theft, offensive touching, and criminal mischief, arising out of breaking into a car in a parking garage, are affirmed where: 1) a photograph of defendant kept in the garage and a witness’s testimony about how the witness knew defendant did not suggest to the jury that defendant had previously committed crimes; 2) the trial judge properly attempted to minimize any chance of prejudice to defendant by limiting the witness’s testimony about the photograph; and 3) the trial judge properly concluded that a missing videotape of an individual fleeing from the garage had no evidentiary value, and therefore, was not material.
Supreme Court of Delaware, March 11, 2010 Zebroski v. State, No. 186, 2009 In a capital habeas matter, the denial of petitioner’s motion for postconviction relief is affirmed in part, but the matter is remanded where: 1) the superior court did not address the interest of justice exception, as defined in Weedon v. State, and 2) it did not address the Rule 61(i)(5) miscarriage of justice exception to the bar of Rule 61(i)(2). .
California Appellate Districts, March 08, 2010 People v. Puluc-Sique, No. A123451 People’s request to extend the appellate disentitlement doctrine (applicable to fugitives) to a criminal defendant who had been deported from the country by the ICE is denied as, absent additional circumstances not presented here, a defendant who has been deported does not stand in the same shoes as one who has voluntarily placed himself beyond the court’s control.
California Appellate Districts, March 08, 2010 People ex rel. Reisig v. Acuna, No. C059375 In an action initiated by the district attorney against the Broderick Boys, an alleged criminal street gang, and 23 of its members to enjoin as a public nuisance their activities in a 2.98-square mile area of West Sacramento, grant of district attorney’s motion for a preliminary injunction is affirmed in part and reversed in part where: 1) sufficient and credible evidence supports the trial court’s conclusion that the Broderick Boys is a criminal street gang whose activities have created a public nuisance in the designated area; and 2) two provisions in the injunction, one dealing with controlled substances and the other dealing with the consumption of alcoholic beverages, are unenforceable.
California Appellate Districts, March 09, 2010 In re Victor L., No. A123649 In a conviction of a minor for possession of specified illegal weapons, juvenile court’s order placing the defendant on probation with various conditions is affirmed for the most part with the exception of: 1) the restrictions on defendant’s right to associate with individuals disapproved of by his probation officer or his parents is unconstitutionally vague and will be modified to include a personal knowledge requirement; 2) restrictions on defendant’s presence “where dangerous or deadly weapons or firearms or ammunitions exist” is unconstitutional as due process requires that the probationer be informed in advance whether his conduct comports with or violates a condition of probation; and 3) to the extent the second Internet condition prohibits any “use of” or “access to” an Internet-enabled computer, it conflicts with the other two conditions, thereby making the combination of conditions unconstitutionally vague.
California Appellate Districts, March 10, 2010 People v. Arias, No. B215566 Conviction of defendant for first-degree murder and jury’s finding, inter alia, that the murder was committed to benefit a criminal street gang, is affirmed for the most part except that the findings as to two attempted murder convictions that the attempted murders were willful, deliberate and premeditated are reversed.
California Appellate Districts, March 11, 2010 People v. Concha, No. B195197 Conviction of defendants for first degree murder for the killing of their accomplice by the intended victim is affirmed as, although the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that “for a defendant to be found guilty of first degree murder, he personally had to have acted willfully, deliberately and with premeditation when he committed the attempted murder,” the instructional error was harmless as a rational jury would have found it clear beyond a reasonable doubt that each defendant personally premeditated and deliberated the attempted murder. ..