SUPREME COURT REVERSES GRANT OF HABEAS CORPUS DESPITE ALL WHITE JURY

The Supreme Court in Berghuis v. Smith looked at an appeal from a grant of habeas corpus in which the question, again, is not whether the trial court was right or wrong but rather whether the state court decision “resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States,” The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) “prohibits federal habeas […] Read more »

CONVICTION UPHELD DESPITE AMBIGUOUS REQUEST FOR AN ATTORNEY

Jason Montes and Margarito Armijo were charged with participating in eight bank robberies in the Dallas area. They were convicted. Armijo was senenced to 4,692 months in prison and Montes to 4,705 months. (Yes, that’s nearly 400 years each!) While there were several issues on appeal the only one worth discussing is Armijo’s claim that he was denied his Miranda rights. In reviewing a district court’s denial of a defendant’s motion to suppress a statement given to the police, this […] Read more »

MADDENGATE

Charles Dickens started Tale of Two Cities with “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. . .” Well if you are in San Francisco and you’re charged with a drug crime it may be the best of times and if you work for the police crime lab it may be the worst of times. Last December the Police Department was notified that one of its supervising chemists, Deborah Madden was stealing cocaine from the laboratory […] Read more »

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION ON CALIFORNIA BALLOT

California voters will vote on legalization of marijuana in November. California’s Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, certified the Tax Cannabis Initiative after nearly 700,000 people signed the petition. The petition only needed 434,000 signatures. California would be the first state in the Union to legalize marijuana and it would still be illegal under Federal law. A poll last year showed that 56 per cent of Californians supported the legalization of marijuana. The initiative if passed will allow everyone over 21 […] Read more »

JUST SAY NO

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the search of three residences in a Kansas City methamphetamine case in United States v. Cisneros-Gutierrez. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Mark King set up surveillance at 323 South Brighton Avenue. Along with other agents he decided to conduct a “knock and talk.” A “knock and talk” is used by narcotics agents when they want to search a residence but they do not have probable cause to get a search warrant. […] Read more »

EIGHTH CIRCUIT REVERSES CONVICTION DUE TO ERRONEOUS JURY INSTRUCTION

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of Marc Sean Wisecarver for deprecation of government property after he shot a hole through the engine of a government owned vehicle. Wisecarver owned a one sixth undivided interest in a a piece of land on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation near Manderson, South Dakota. He reqested permission to rent out his share. The BIA sent Duke Bourne, a soil conservationist to determine the rental value of the property. Wisecarver saw […] Read more »

FIRST CIRCUIT PERMITS FILING OF HABEAS TO CHALLENGE PAROLE DENIAL DESPITE PRIOR HABEASES

Generally an inmate or a person on parole or probation must use a writ of habeas corpus to challenge their confinement or conditions limiting their freedom. The rules regarding the ability to file a writ of habeas corpus in Federal Court are complicated. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) set up a number of rules limiting the ability to file writs of habeas corpus in Federal Court. One of the rules prohibits people from filing “second […] Read more »

SEVENTH CIRCUIT FINDS THAT A CITATION WITHOUT ARREST IS NOT A SECTION 1983 CAUSE OF ACTION

The question before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Tully v. Rush County Prosecutor Paul Barada et al was whether one who had been issued a citation and had not been incarcerated could sue for false arrest on the grounds that the prosecutor had violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when probable cause did not exist to charge them. The Seventh Circuit ruled that a Section 1983 claim cannot be based purely on a citation without an actual […] Read more »

SIXTH CIRCUIT FINDS THAT “TEACHING” HOW TO LAUNDER MONEY IS AIDING AND ABETTING

Aiding and abetting requires (1) an act contributing to the commission of the crime; and (2) the intent to aid in the commission of the crime. In United States v. Bronzino the Sixth Circuit, yesterday, found Vincenzo Bronzino guilty of aiding and abetting money laundering. Bronzino paid an illegal betting debt to Peter Messina using 15,000 dollars worth of legally obtained betting chips. Messina was reluctant to take the chips. He was afraid that if he tried to cash them […] Read more »

FIRST CIRCUIT FINDS IMPLICIT WAIVER OF MIRANDA RIGHTS

Recently we looked at Florida v. Powell in which the the Supreme Court limited the need to inform a detainee that he/she may have an attorney present during interrogation. On Friday the First Circuit in United States v. Mejia found that Ricardo Mejia implicitly waived his Miranda rights without expressly doing so. Ricardo Miranda was arrested with Eudy Tejada-Pichardo (“Tejada”) after they sold two kilograms of cocaine to two government informants, Ambioris Falette and Marie Perez. Prior to the arrest […] Read more »