Mohamed v. Holder, Jr.

Petitioner, a citizen of Sudan, sought review of the BIA's order of removal based on his conviction of two crimes involving moral turpitude. Petitioner was convicted under state law in 2010 for sexual battery and in 2011 for failing to register as a sex offender. The court did not defer to the BIA's decision in Matter of Tobar-Lobo because the BIA erroneously based its conclusion on the registration statute's purpose and not the nature of a conviction under the statute. The court concluded that, because petitioner's failure to register conviction was not a crime involving moral turpitude, the BIA erred as a matter of law in relying on that conviction as a basis to order petitioner's removal under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(ii). Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review and reversed the BIA's decision, remanding with instructions.View "Mohamed v. Holder, Jr." on Justia Law

Regis v. Holder, Jr.

Petitioner, a native and citizen of the Philippines, entered the United States on a K-2 visa as the minor child of his mother, but he turned 21 before he applied for an adjust of status to lawful conditional permanent resident. The IJ denied the application because petitioner did not qualify as a minor child under 8 U.S.C. 1255(d) and the BIA affirmed. The court found the BIA's determination of "minor child" status in Matter of Le well-reasoned and concluded that the BIA's analysis embraces the existing statutory and regulatory framework, reaching a result consistent with that framework. The BIA's interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act - that a K-2 visa holder seeking adjustment of status must be under 21 at the time of admission - is therefore a permissible construction and is owed Chevron deference. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review.View "Regis v. Holder, Jr." on Justia Law

United States v. Catone, Jr.

Defendant appealed his conviction, sentence, and the district court's restitution order for one count of making a false statement in connection with his receipt of federal workers' compensation benefits in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1920. The court rejected defendant's Brady v. Maryland claim, that his conviction should be vacated because the government failed to disclose evidence that undermined the government's theory that he willfully concealed certain work he performed, for numerous reasons. The court declined to follow the few decisions in other circuits that view loss amount as a punitive sentencing factor. The court concluded that defendant's felony conviction cannot stand because the jury made no finding that the amount of benefits falsely obtained exceeded $1000 and the court was unable to locate overwhelming evidence in the record to support such a conclusion. The court directed the district court to impose a misdemeanor sentence on remand. The court vacated the sentence and remanded for resentencing where the district court failed to apply the analysis required under United States v. Dawkins, and its loss amount calculation was therefore erroneous. The court also vacated the award of restitution and remanded for recalculation.View "United States v. Catone, Jr." on Justia Law

United States v. Moore

Defendant appealed the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence and the sufficiency of the evidence for his conviction of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of drug trafficking in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c). The court concluded that the motion to suppress should have been raised prior to trial and, because it was not, it was waived. Further, the evidence was sufficient to support finding a nexus between the drug trafficking and firearms under section 924(c). Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.View "United States v. Moore" on Justia Law

Duke v. State of North Carolina

After the Supreme Court lifted certain Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973c, restrictions that prevented jurisdictions like North Carolina from passing laws that would deny minorities equal access, North Carolina began pursuing sweeping voting reform with House Bill 589. Plaintiffs and the federal government filed suit against North Carolina, alleging that House Bill 589 violates equal protection provisions of the United States Constitution and the Voting Rights Act and seeking a preliminary injunction. The court concluded that the district court abused its discretion in denying plaintiffs' preliminary injunction and not preventing certain provisions of House Bill 589 from taking effect. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's denial of the preliminary injunction as to House Bill 589's elimination of same-day registration and prohibition on counting out-of-precinct ballots. The court affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction with respect to the following House Bill 589 provisions: the reduction of early-voting days; the expansion of allowable voter challenges; the elimination of the discretion of county boards of elections to keep the pools open an additional hour on Election Day in "extraordinary circumstances"; the elimination of pre-registration of sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds who will not be eighteen years old by the next general election; and the soft roll-out of voter identification requirements to go into effect in 2016. View "Duke v. State of North Carolina" on Justia Law

Hentosh v. Old Dominion University

Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer, ODU, alleging, inter alia, a claim for retaliation based on the denial of her application for tenure. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment for ODU, arguing that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the retaliation claim that grew out of and was reasonably related to an untimely filed charge of discrimination. The court concluded that the district court properly exercised subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's related tenure retaliation claim where it had subject matter jurisdiction over her administratively exhausted but untimely filed non-retaliation claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.View "Hentosh v. Old Dominion University" on Justia Law

Owens v. Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office

Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that defendants violated his constitutional rights by intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence during his 1988 trial for rape and murder. The district court dismissed the complaint on statute-of-limitations grounds, and, in the alternative, the district court held that the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office enjoyed sovereign immunity, the individual police officers enjoyed qualified immunity, and plaintiff's cause of action against the Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD) failed to state a claim on which relief could be granted. The court concluded that plaintiff filed suit within the applicable three year statute of limitations for a personal-injury action under Maryland law and his claims were timely; the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office is not an entity amenable to suit; precedent unmistakably provided that, by 1988, a police officer violates clearly established constitutional law when he suppresses material exculpatory evidence in bad faith; the officers in this case were not entitled to qualified immunity where they were clearly on notice of the impermissibility of their conduct in 1988, the time of the alleged violations; and plaintiff has stated a plausible claim against the BCPD. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court to the extent it dismissed plaintiff's claims against the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office; vacated in all other respects; and remanded for further proceedings.View "Owens v. Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office" on Justia Law

Chevron Corp. v. Page

In these consolidated appeals, Chevron sought documents from two Maryland-based attorneys who assisted the lead attorney representing Ecuadorian plaintiffs in a multi-billion dollar judgment rendered in Ecuador against Chevron. The district court ordered production of the requested documents and the attorneys appealed. The court dismissed appeal number 13-1382 based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction to hear the appeal from the district court's order on Chevron's Rule 45 subpoenas because the finality rule prohibits such an interlocutory appeal, and affirmed the lower court's judgment in appeal number 13-2028 under 28 U.S.C. 1872 based on the lead attorney's waiver and two other independent bases to permit discovery of the documents at issue.View "Chevron Corp. v. Page" on Justia Law

United States v. McLaurin

Defendants McLaurin and Lowery appealed their convictions and sentences for conspiracy and firearms charges related to their involvement in a plan to rob a drug "stash house." The court concluded that the district court did not err in giving the jury supplemental instructions clarifying the term "inducement" on defendants' entrapment defense; the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of prior bad acts under Rule 404(b); the district court did not err in determining that the conspiracy and felon-in-possession offenses were properly joined; even if the counts were improperly joined, the misjoinder caused no actual prejudice to McLaurin; and the court exercised its discretion to correct the plain error in calculating McLaurin's Guidelines' range by vacating his sentence and remanding for resentencing. Accordingly, the court affirmed the convictions but vacated McLaurin's sentence and remanded for resentencing.View "United States v. McLaurin" on Justia Law

United States v. Stephens

Defendant, convicted of illegal firearm possession, appealed the district court's denial of his pretrial motion to suppress evidence. A law enforcement officer, acting without a warrant, had installed a battery-powered GPS device under the rear bumper of defendant's vehicle. While defendant's case was pending, the Supreme Court held in United States v. Jones that the government's installation of a GPS on a target vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements, constituted a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The district court concluded that, in light of Jones, the officer's warrantless use of the GPS on defendant's vehicle was an unconstitutional search that led to the seizure of the challenged evidence. However, the district court held that the exlcusionary rule did not apply because the officer acted in good faith. The court concluded that, under the facts of this case, the rule announced in Davis v. United States directly controls: the officer's use of the GPS was objectively reasonable at the time because of the binding appellate precedent of United States v. Knotts. Accordingly, the court concluded that the exclusionary rule does not apply and the court affirmed defendant's conviction.View "United States v. Stephens" on Justia Law