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Edit Delete 10th Circuit

SEARCH, DRUG OFFENDER

U.S. v. Pettit, May-13-2015

J. Kelly finds that the lower court properly convicted a man of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Although an officer detained a driver in a traffic stop longer than was necessary to complete a citation for traffic violations, the officer could legally do so because he had reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The driver displayed more nervousness than is normal during a traffic stop, and he was unable to provide many details about why his "friend" had asked him to drive her car from California to Kansas. In addition, the man's driver's licenses from two states were suspended. Although each action could have had an innocent cause, taken together they constitute reasonable suspicion. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 11th Circuit

CHILD ABUSE, SEX OFFENDER, RESTITUTION

U.S. v. Keelan, May-13-2015

J. Black finds that the lower court properly ordered restitution following his sexual abuse of a child conviction. He is a 51-year-old teacher who took advantage of a 15-year-old boy confused about his sexuality and acting out by cutting himself. Experts plausibly testified that this was the end result of a long term grooming process often employed by child predators. The relationship went on for several years and involved interstate commerce after defendant moved out of state, justifying a federal prosecution. Although the victim suffered from psychological problems prior to the abuse, the abuse clearly worsened them, justifying the imposition of restitution to cover for mental health treatment expenses. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 1st Circuit

DRUG OFFENDER, CONSPIRACY, MURDER

U.S. v. Burgos-Montes, May-13-2015

J. Kayatta finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of drug conspiracy and murder. His girlfriend disappeared soon after defendant found out that she had been serving as a government informant. The conversations she recorded reveal defendant discussing the importation of mass quantities of cocaine from the Dominican Republic, along with prices and methods. It is not equally plausible that a different member of the conspiracy killed the victim because defendant was known to have tried to confirm whether or not she was an informant for a long time and repeatedly threatened to kill her. He cannot plausibly claim that these were just reflections of the poor state of their relationship since he never attempted to end it otherwise. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 1st Circuit

DRUG OFFENDER, SEARCH, PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT

U.S. v. Baez-Martinez, May-13-2015

J. Selya finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of being a felon in possession of a firearm. As officers approached the bar behind which he stood, defendant discarded a fanny pack and looked in their direction, which reasonably raised their suspicion that he was carrying drugs or contraband. This gave them good cause to search the fanny pack, where the firearm was found. The prosecution did not unfairly point out defendant's refusal to testify by stating that defendant was the only person who knew what had happened since there were dozens of other people in the bar at the time. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 1st Circuit

DRUG OFFENDER, CONSPIRACY, FAIR TRIAL

U.S. v. De La Cruz-Feliciano, May-13-2015

[Consolidated.] J. Ripple finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was stopped in a vehicle near the coastline carrying 900 kilograms of cocaine and cannot plausibly claim that he was not aware that the vehicle contained drugs. It did not unfairly prejudice defendant to bring up his alleged threat to a witness since the sensational details of the threat were not communicated to the jury. A replacement of defendant's name with that of his co-defendant in the transcript was due to a typographical error by the stenographer as opposed to any confusion of identity by a relevant party. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 2nd Circuit

SENTENCING, HABEAS, JURISDICTION

Lugo v. Hudson, May-13-2015

Per curiam, the circuit finds that the district court properly denied petitioner's contention that his federal prison sentence was calculated incorrectly. Petitioner was in state prison when he was indicted on federal charges and a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum was issued. When the state failed to transfer him to federal authorities by a specified date, petitioner argued the writ became invalid and the time he was in federal custody for trial should have counted against his later federal sentence. That time, though, really was part of his state sentence since he had just been "borrowed" from state prison to appear on the federal charges. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 2nd Circuit

TRADEMARK, CONTEMPT, ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS

U.S. Polo Association v. PRL USA Holdings, May-13-2015

[Consolidated with 13-1130.] J. Winter finds that the district court improperly found plaintiff in contempt of an earlier injunction governing logo use. Plaintiff, with a "Double Horsemen Mark," and defendant, with a "Polo Player Logo," have been fighting over use of the symbols on various products for 30 years; the latest involved sunglasses. Because a finding of infringement in one product area, though, does not necessarily carry over to another, a product-by-product assessment for signs of confusion is the better route for evaluation. And given no such comparison for sunglasses, the contempt finding was inappropriate. Vacated.

Edit Delete 2nd Circuit

HABEAS, DUE PROCESS

Rosa v. U.S., May-13-2015

J. Raggi finds that the district court properly denied petitioner's motion to vacate his 120-year prison sentence as time-barred. Petitioner, who pleaded guilty to producing child pornography and witness tampering, argued the request met the provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 because it was filed within a year of the denial of his rehearing petition after a writ of certiorari was denied. But as eight other circuits have determined, the clock began to run when the original petition was denied -- that is, as the conviction became final -- not when the rehearing request was denied. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 6th Circuit

MEDICARE, FRAUD

U.S. v. English, May-13-2015

J. Kethledge finds that the lower court properly convicted defendants of Medicare fraud and conspiracy to commit Medicare fraud. Evidence of defendant's prior involvement in two other Medicare-fraud schemes was properly admitted at trial because the central issue was whether defendant had defrauded Medicare innocently or intentionally. This evidence shed light on his true intentions, and its probative value outweighed any prejudicial effect. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 6th Circuit

MEDICARE, FRAUD

U.S. v. Medlock, May-13-2015

[Consolidated.] J. Boggs finds that the lower court improperly convicted defendants of aggravated identity theft, but properly convicted them of health-care fraud, and related crimes. A covert audit of defendants' ambulance service found that defendants frequently incorrectly billed transports as single-passenger when they took more than one patient. While defendants a guilty of fraud for these transports, they lied only about their own eligibility for reimbursement - they did indeed transport the beneficiaries whose names they entered on the forms. Therefore, did not steal the identities of these patients as part of their fraudulent scheme. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete 6th Circuit

THREATS

U.S. v. Harris, May-13-2015

J. Clay finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant for mailing a threatening letter to Congresswoman Candice Miller threatening to kill her and her family if she did not send one million dollars. The letter was written in distinctive handwriting, and three witnesses testified that they recognized the writing as defendant's. This testimony did not encroach on the jury's responsibility to determine whether defendant mailed the letter or not. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 6th Circuit

IMMUNITY, CIVIL RIGHTS

Northrup v. City of Toledo Police Department, May-13-2015

J. Sutton finds that the lower court properly denied a police officer qualified immunity for arresting a man for openly carrying a handgun in the street when the man had a license to do so and there was no evidence he was "about to start shooting." Open-carry is legal in Ohio, as the legislature has decided its citizens may be entrusted to carry firearms on the street. Unless the officer had probable cause to find defendant was dangerous, he had no cause to arrest him. However, the lower court improperly denied the second defendant officer qualified immunity when he did not arrive on the scene until the arrest was complete. Affirmed in part.

Edit Delete 7th Circuit

CONTRACT, ATTORNEY FEES, BUSINESS PRACTICES

Burford v. Accounting Practice Sales, May-13-2015

J. Hamilton finds that the lower court improperly dismissed plaintiff's contract claim that defendant prematurely terminated its end of an agreement under which plaintiff was to market and facilitate the sale of accounting practices, forcing him to start a rival business which has also been sued. The contract was not of indefinite duration and was also not terminable at will. The contract specifically stated that it could be terminated by defendant only if plaintiff violated it, and not for a minor decline in performance of which defendant did not initially complain. However, neither party is entitled to attorney fees. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete 7th Circuit

EMPLOYMENT, CIVIL RIGHTS

Castro v. DeVry University, May-13-2015

J. Hamilton finds that the lower court properly dismissed employment discrimination claims filed by two of the plaintiffs, but improperly dismissed a third plaintiff's claim. They claimed that they were fired for reporting fellow employees' racially and ethnically derogatory remarks. Two of them were terminated well over a year after the complaint for performance reasons that they cannot otherwise explain. However, the third employee was terminated for "volatile behavior" and other vague reasons, and defendant has since acknowledged that performance did not justify firing him. This plaintiff may also proceed since he has showed that defendant falsely told the EEOC that plaintiff's manager did not know about these complaints when she actually did. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete 7th Circuit

HABEAS, SEX OFFENDER, SENTENCING

Pidgeon v. Smith, May-13-2015

J. Flaum finds that the lower court properly denied petitioner habeas on his sexual assault conviction and prison sentence. His attorney mistakenly told him that he faced a mandatory life without parole sentence because of his past conviction of aggravated battery. This led him to accept a 10-year deal, but the past conviction was actually not so serious as to expose him to such a heavy penalty. The lower court was not required to call counsel as a witness even though this is standard state procedure. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 9th Circuit

CHILD ABUSE, SEX OFFENDER, FAIR TRIAL

U.S. v. Brown, May-13-2015

J. Berzon finds that the district court should have appointed new defense counsel to defendant, who was convicted for advertising, transporting, receiving and possessing child pornography. The district court misunderstood the right at issue -- "it focused on considerations pertinent to the right to constitutionally adequate counsel, rather than to the right to choice of counsel Brown actually enjoyed," and it focused more on the attorney's attempts to withdraw than on the fact that defendant was the one trying to fire his attorney. Defendant should have a new trial. Vacated.

Edit Delete 9th Circuit

JURY, RACKETEERING, CONSPIRACY

U.S. v. Gonzalez, May-13-2015

J. Smith finds that defendant was properly convicted for conspiring to murder rival gang members in aid of a racketeering enterprise. Defendant argues that the district court failed to instruct the jury that it must unanimously agree on the acts that constituted the conspiracy to murder. But so long as the jurors unanimously agree that the government has proven each element of a conspiracy, "they need not unanimously agree on the particular overt act that was committed in furtherance of the agreed-upon conspiracy." The district court provided an additional unanimity instruction that adequately ensured that the jurors reached the requisite level of unanimity. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Arkansas Court Of Appeals

CIVIL PROCEDURE, FAMILY LAW

Hobbs v. Vaughan, May-13-2015

J. Vaught dismisses the appeal of a custody order for lack of a final, appealable order.

Edit Delete Arkansas Court Of Appeals

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

Pledger v. Arkansas, May-13-2015

J. Whiteaker finds that the lower court properly convicted the inmate of residential burglary and that his attorney can withdraw from the appeal because it has no merit. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Arkansas Court Of Appeals

CIVIL PROCEDURE

KTAL v. Department of Workforce Services, May-13-2015

J. Kinard finds that the Arkansas Board of Review improperly granted the former employee's claim for unemployment benefits. Since there is no evidence that the former employee, who left work due to an illness, made any attempts to preserve her job, she is disqualified from receiving benefits. Reversed.

Edit Delete Arkansas Court Of Appeals

PROPERTY

Canady v. Petit Jean State Bank, May-13-2015

J. Kinard finds that the lower court properly dismissed appellant's claim against the bank for the value of improvements that she made to a property before discovering that the bank had a judgment lien against it. Since the Betterment Act is inapplicable to appellant's claim against the bank, and her unjust enrichment argument is not preserved for appellate review, the court correctly denied her claim. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Arkansas Court Of Appeals

CIVIL PROCEDURE

Air Masters Mechanical v. Goodman Distribution, May-13-2015

J. Gruber remands the appeal so that appellant can supplement the record with documents related to the jury trial.

Edit Delete Arkansas Court Of Appeals

THEFT

Bailey v. Arkansas, May-13-2015

J. Kinard finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of residential burglary and theft of property for his role in the illegal entry and theft of his girlfriend's items from her ex-boyfriend's apartment. Defendant argued that there is insufficient evidence to support his convictions because there are no eyewitnesses placing him inside the apartment and since the stolen property was never recovered. While defendant's arguments are not preserved for appellate review, there is still no reversible error and, therefore, he was correctly placed on 3 years of supervised probation, fined $500 and ordered to pay restitution. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Arkansas Court Of Appeals

CONTRACT

Filat v. Rand, May-13-2015

J. Glover finds that the lower court improperly entered judgment in favor of appellee property owner in a breach of contract claim against appellant heat and air company. Since the statue of limitations period expired, the trial court erred in concluding that the action was not barred by the limitations period for contract claims. Reversed.

Edit Delete Arkansas Court Of Appeals

CIVIL PROCEDURE, FAMILY LAW

Metz v. Langston, May-13-2015

J. Hixson finds that the lower court properly ordered a reduction to appellee ex-husband's child support obligation, due to his health issues, and calculated his past-due support arrearages. The ex-wife failed to demonstrate clear error or an abuse of discretion. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Arkansas Court Of Appeals

CIVIL PROCEDURE, FAMILY LAW

Wilcoxon v. Thomas, May-13-2015

J. Virden finds that the lower court improperly amended an original divorce decree. The court abused its discretion in entering an amended order after the 90-day time limit due to an error under Rule 60(a). Reversed.

Edit Delete Arkansas Court Of Appeals

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, MURDER

Liggins v. Arkansas, May-13-2015

J. Brown finds that the lower court properly sentenced the inmate after finding him guilty of first-degree murder and first-degree battery. Despite arguing that the trial court violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel of his choice, there is no evidence of reversible error. Therefore, the inmate was correctly sentenced to an aggregate term of 65 years in prison plus 25 years imprisonment on the battery charge. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Arkansas Court Of Appeals

JUVENILE LAW

B.J. v. Arkansas, May-13-2015

J. Abramson finds that the defendant was properly adjudicated delinquent for committing a rape when he was 10 years-old. While he argued that the trial court erred in finding sufficient evidence of deviate sexual activity for the offense of rape, his argument is not preserved for appellate review since it was not renewed at the close of all evidence. Therefore, the juvenile was correctly sentenced to two years of supervised probation and ordered to complete a psychosexual assessment. He is also ordered not to have any contact with the victim or other children younger than himself without adult supervision. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Arkansas Court Of Appeals

CIVIL PROCEDURE

Leece Properties v. Myers, May-13-2015

J. Hoofman orders a rebriefing due to deficiencies in appellant's brief.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal

PROPERTY, WATER

Golden State Water Co. v. Casitas Municipal Water District, May-13-2015

[Modified opinion.] J. Perren finds that a trial court correctly determined that defendants may use Mello-Roos bonds to acquire plaintiff's private water utility through eminent domain. The Mello-Roos Act's purpose is to help finance the purchase of property regardless of whether the seller consents or is compelled through an eminent domain action. Furthermore, and contrary to plaintiff's argument, the Act can be used to finance the purchase of intangible items related to the utility provided the items are connected with and accomplish the overall purpose of taking over the utility. Affirmed.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal

THREATS, SELF REPRESENTATION

People v. Miranda, May-13-2015

J. Rubin finds that a trial court correctly convicted defendant of making criminal threats and resisting arrest. While defendant argued the trial court should not have granted his request to represent himself and should have intervened when his mental-health issues became apparent during the trial, defendant waived his right to counsel knowingly and voluntarily and nothing in the record suggests he could not perform the basic tasks of self-representation without assistance. Affirmed.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal

SENTENCING

People v. Denize, May-13-2015

J. Mihara finds that a trial court correctly denied defendant's request for resentencing under the 3 Strikes Reform Act, and for appointment of counsel. The law makes defendant, whose two life sentences are for a serious felony and a non-serious felony, ineligible for resentencing regardless if the non-serious offense was the second sentence handed down. Because defendant has no case, he has no need for the appointment of counsel. Affirmed.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal

MURDER, ACCOMPLICE LIABILITY, JURY

People v. Hill, May-13-2015

J. Stewart finds that a trial court incorrectly convicted defendant Li of first-degree murder. The trial court had an obligation to give a jury instruction on its own motion that the jury could only convict Li of felony murder if it also found she had aided and abetted the other defendant to burgle or murder the victim when or after the victim was killed. However, the trial court correctly convicted Li of burglary and the attempted murder of a second victim since the convictions were based directly on her own actions. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal

WORKERS COMPENSATION, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

Lozano v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, May-13-2015

J. Zelon finds that defendant board incorrectly refused to reconsider a workers' compensation judge's finding that the cancer presumption found in labor code did not apply to petitioners' claim for benefits. While the judge found that the cancer presumption, passed by the Legislature to include firefighters like the deceased, did not apply in this case because the deceased died before the amendment was passed, the amendment effected a procedural change in law that requires it to be applied retroactively. Reversed.

Edit Delete Federal Circuit

EMPLOYMENT

Archuleta v. Hopper, May-13-2015

[Order.] Per curiam, the Federal Circuit finds that the petition for rehearing shall be granted for the limited purpose of clarifying that the merit system protection board had jurisdiction to review the employee's debarment.

Edit Delete Federal Circuit

PATENT

Akamai Technologies v. Limelight Networks, May-13-2015

J. Linn finds that the lower court properly found for defendant in a patent suit. Defendant did not perform all the steps of the asserted method claims under the patent, and there is no basis to impose liability of defendant for the actions of its customers who carried out the other steps. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Federal Circuit



Archuleta v. Hopper II, May-13-2015

[Revised.]

Edit Delete Federal Circuit

PATENT

Classen Immunotherapies v. Elan Pharmaceuticals, May-13-2015

J. Lourie finds that the lower court properly found for defendant in a patent dispute, in that it acted reasonably in its actions to develop clinical data on the approved drug Skelaxin and submission of information to the Food and Drug Administration related to the drug. However, regarding defendant's actions after the submission, the lower court should have determined whether defendant's activities constituted infringement or qualified for the safe harbor exemption. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal

CHILD ABUSE, WITNESS

Farrell v. State, May-13-2015

J. Levine finds that the trial court properly convicted defendant of aggravated child abuse. The state's questioning of a doctor who had inconsistencies in his resume was brief and generally harmless to defendant's case. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal

ATTORNEY FEES, FAMILY LAW

Tressel v. Gatta, May-13-2015

Per curiam, the court of appeals finds that the trial court properly denied the husband's attorney fees. There is no evidence the wife has ability to pay the entire amount. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal

DRUG OFFENDER, EVIDENCE, EXPERTS

State v. Strickling, May-13-2015

J. Wells finds that the trial court properly suppressed defendant's medical records and testimony from one of the doctors in a "doctor shopping" case. The arresting officers should not have asked for defendant's medical records. However, one of the doctors can testify at trial because he willingly gave police officers information on defendant. Affirmed in part.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal

FAMILY LAW

Platt v. Platt, May-13-2015

Per curiam, the court of appeals finds that the trial court improperly calculated the equitable distribution of the couple's assets. Items the wife sold before divorce proceedings were wrongfully included in the calculations. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal

MURDER, INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE

Jacobson v. State, May-13-2015

Per curiam, the court of appeals finds that the trial court improperly denied defendant's post-conviction relief for the murder of his wife and children. Defendant claims his counsel did not tell him about a possible insanity defense related to his prescription drugs, so he should receive an evidentiary hearing. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal

WITNESS, INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE, SELF DEFENSE

Gallo v. State, May-13-2015

Per curiam, the court of appeals finds that the trial court improperly denied defendant post-conviction relief. Defendant's lawyer should have called the five witnesses with allegations that the victim has a reputation for violence. Defendant should be given a hearing as this could support his claim of self-defense. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal

FRAUD, VENUE

Michaluk v. Credorax USA, May-13-2015

J. Emas finds that the trial court improperly dismissed appellant's fraud case for improper venue. Although an agreement between the two parties said court actions should take place in Malta, the contract wording does not exclude Florida as a venue. Reversed.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal

FORFEITURE, DRUG OFFENDER

Miami-Dade County v. Forfeiture, May-13-2015

J. Fernandez finds that the trial court improperly denied the city's request to seize money from a safety deposit box belonging to a convicted drug dealer. The dealer gave the deposit box key to investigators while also consenting to a search of his home. The totality of the money found shows reasonable belief that the money is connected to the drug dealing activity. Reversed.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal

DRUG OFFENDER, SEARCH

State v. Bultman, May-13-2015

J. Villanti finds that the lower court properly exluded evidence discovered pursuant to an illegal search of defendant's home. The officers did not have consent to search defendant's backyard where the meth was found. However, it improperly suppressed drug evidence found in her purse, which was legally searched because the officers had reasonable cause to search her after smelling marijuana in the home. Affirmed in part.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal

PROPERTY

Vista Golf v. Vista Royale Property Owners Association, May-13-2015

Per curiam, the court of appeals finds that the trial court properly invalidated and rewrote covenants relating to a golf course property. Appellant is not compelled to operate a golf course business; however, the property must not be used as anything other than a golf course. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal

CIVIL PROCEDURE

Cafaro v. Estate of Wyllins, May-13-2015

[Consolidated.] J. Silberman finds that the appeals must be dismissed because pro se defendant did not file a notice of appeal or any trial court orders to be appealed. Given defendant's failure to provide the documents necessary for an appeal, he shall be barred from further filings with this court unless submitted by a licensed attorney.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal

EVIDENCE, CONVERSION

Jacobs v. Atlantic Coast Refining, May-13-2015

J. Forst finds that the trial court improperly ruled against appellant in a civil theft case. Allegations stemming from an earlier settlement between appellant and her ex-husband were wrongfully admitted into evidence. Reversed.

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