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December 29, 2008 – January 3, 2009
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, December 30, 2008 Gonzalez v. Duncan, No. 06-56523 A sentence of 28 years to life imprisonment under California’s “Three Strikes” law violates the Eighth Amendment where: 1) the offense was Petitioner’s failure to update his annual sex offender registration within five working days of his birthday; and 2) he was living at his registered address throughout the relevant time period. Habeas relief is warranted because the state court’s application of the gross disproportionality principle was objectively unreasonable.
U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, December 30, 2008 Kaemmerling v. Lappin, No. 07-5065 The Prison Litigation Reform Act does not require convicted felon to exhaust administrative remedies on his Constitutional challenge to the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act because the Federal Bureau of Prisons has no discretion not to collect his DNA, and hence there is no administrative process to exhaust. Dismissal is affirmed for failure to state a claim for relief, since extraction and storage of appellant’s DNA does not burden his religious exercise.
California Appellate Districts, December 29, 2008 Grossmont Union High School Dist. v. California Dep’t of Educ., No. C056138 In a claim against defendant-California Department of Education seeking declaration that plaintiff-high school should not have to pay for mental health services for special education students because of a reduction in state funding for such services, judgment in favor of defendant-department of education is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff-high school was not an intended beneficiary of the federal-state special education funding laws; 2) the requirement that plaintiff-high school provide services to special education students did not deprive regular students of equal protection, although regular education programs would be cut; 3) plaintiff’s complaint failed to state a cause of action; and 4) because plaintiff-high school did not suggest how the complaint might be amended, leave to amend was properly denied.