Criminal Law

Daily criminal law and procedure case summaries, brought to you by
  1. (United States Ninth Circuit) - In a suit brought under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 and state law against a sheriff's department, the district court's dismissal on statute of limitations ground is affirmed where, although 28 U.S.C. section 1448 and Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m) give plaintiffs additional time to effect service of process, these rules do not extend or revive a state statute of limitations that expired before removal.
  2. (United States Ninth Circuit) - In a petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' decision concluding that petitioner's conviction for attempted sexual abuse under Oregon Revised Statutes section 163.427 is an aggravated felony that warranted termination of his asylee status, the petition is denied in part and dismissed in part where: 1) the Oregon statute is not a categorical match to the generic federal offense of sexual abuse of a minor because the Oregon statute criminalizes more conduct than the generic federal offense; 2) in light of the statutory text, Shepardd documents, and state court decisions, subparagraphs 163.427(1)(a)(A) through (C) are divisible; and 3) under the modified categorical approach, petitioner was convicted under subparagraph (1)(a)(A), and this subparagraph is categorically a generic federal sexual abuse of a minor offense, and by extension an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. section 1101(a)(43)(A).
  3. (Supreme Court of California) - In a taxpayer action seeking injunctive and declaratory under Code of Civil Procedure section 526a alleging claims of elephant abuse at the Los Angeles Zoo in violation of Penal Code section 596.5, the Court of Appeals' judgment is reversed where: 1) the Court of Appeal's earlier decision did not establish law of the case, and did not bar defendants' new argument that the claim for equitable relief is precluded by Civil Code section 3369; and 2) the 'as otherwise provided by law' exception in section 3369 does not permit equitable relief in a taxpayer action seeking to restrain 'illegal' public expenditures under Code of Civil Procedure section 526a.
  4. (Supreme Court of California) - In a case in which defendant was sentenced for guilty plea to leaving the scene of an injury accident in violation of Vehicle Code section 20001(a), the trial court's restitution order is vacated where: 1) defendant‘s crime was leaving the scene of the accident without presenting identification or rendering aid, not being involved in a traffic accident; and thus 2) under section 1202.4, the trial court was authorized to order restitution for those injuries that were caused or exacerbated by defendant's criminal flight from the scene of the accident, but it was not authorized to award restitution for injuries resulting from the accident itself.
  5. (United States Third Circuit) - In a petition for writ of certiorari to review a Virgin Islands Supreme Court's decision in a criminal matter in which petitioner was identified as the sole-shooter in a murder by a co-defendant that reached a plea deal with the government, the Court of Appeals holds: 1) the Court does have jurisdiction; 2) the V.I. Supreme Court's ruling on the 'aiding and abetting' instruction was proper; and 3) certiorari was improvidently granted on the harmless error question.
  6. (United States Fourth Circuit) - In a 28 U.S.C. section 2254 petition for writ of habeas corpus relief from sentence and conviction of attempted murder, the district court's denial of the petition is vacated and remanded to address the merits of petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claim.
  7. (United States First Circuit) - Conviction of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute at least 15 kilograms but less than 50 kilograms of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. sections 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), and 846, are affirmed where: 1) because the entire drug deal was captured on video and audio -- which show defendant inspecting the drugs with his own hands -- there was sufficient evidence to convict; and 2) defendant's claims that there were errors at his trial are without merit.
  8. (United States Second Circuit) - In a suit against a police officer for malicious prosecution in violation of the Fourth Amendment, under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendant is affirmed where the claim was time-barred because plaintiff's claim began to run when the prosecutor dismissed the charges against him by entering a nolle prosequi, and not, as plaintiff claims, when all public records of his prosecution were erased pursuant to a Connecticut recordkeeping statute.
  9. (United States Second Circuit) - In a petition for writ of habeas corpus relief from conviction of murder, attempted murder and assault, the district court's grant of the petition on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel is vacated where in light of the deferential standard of review, that the state trial court's determination that trial counsel's conduct did not prejudice the defense was not unreasonable.
  10. (United States Fourth Circuit) - Denial of petition for writ of habeas corpus relief is affirmed where petitioner has failed to meet his high burden of establishing that the PCR court unreasonably applied the Strickland standard or unreasonably concluded that petitioner failed to establish Strickland prejudice.
  11. (United States First Circuit) - Sentence and conviction of drug-trafficking crimes are affirmed over defendant's claim that the district court erred both in denying his multiple motions to suppress incriminating evidence and in fashioning his sentence.
  12. (United States First Circuit) - Sentences for convictions of transporting a from Maine to Massachusetts and back to Maine over an eight-day period with the intent that the minor engage in prostitution, 18 U.S.C. section 2421, are affirmed over defendants' meritless that the district court erroneously applied sentencing enhancements for undue influence and computer use, U.S.S.G. sections 2G1.3(b)(2)(B) and (b)(3)(B), that the government breached the terms of a proffer agreement in its sentencing memorandum, and that the district court failed to adequately weigh the 18 U.S.C. section 3553(a) factors when fashioning the sentence.
  13. (California Court of Appeal) - Denial of two Proposition 47 petitions for resentencing under Penal Code section 1170.18 is reversed where the trial court relied on an erroneous interpretation of the statute when it denied defendant's petitions.
  14. (United States Ninth Circuit) - In an action brought by a former prisoner, alleging violations of the Eighth Amendment and various state laws for injuries he suffered and the medical treatment he received after he was struck by shotgun pellets that officers fired in an attempt to quell an inmate altercation, the district court's dismissal of the complaint is reversed where: 1) the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C. section 1915A, the applies only to claims brought by individuals incarcerated at the time they file their complaints; and 2) because plaintiff was not so incarcerated, his claims should not have been subjected to section 1915A screening.
  15. (United States First Circuit) - Sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. section 924(e) for guilty plea to multiple federal firearms offenses, 18 U.S.C. section 922(g), is affirmed on different grounds where defendant's armed- assault-with-intent-to-murder conviction counts as his third ACCA predicate.