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Plaintiffs alleged that the government's decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy (and its changes to policies governing the use of information provided by DACA applicants) violates the Fifth Amendment, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and common law principles of estoppel. The Fourth Circuit agreed with the district court that plaintiffs' challenges were subject to judicial review and that the government's decision to rescind DACA did not require notice and comment under the APA. However, the court held that the decision violated the APA because—on the administrative record before the court—it was not adequately explained and thus was arbitrary and capricious. The court also held that the district court erred in ordering the government to comply with its policies promulgated in 2012 on the use of information provided by DACA applicants and enjoining it from altering those policies. The court declined, under the doctrine of constitutional avoidance, to decide whether plaintiffs' Fifth Amendment rights were violated. The court also declined to address plaintiffs' remaining arguments. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, dismissed in part, and remanded. View "Casa De Maryland v. DHS" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit held that the doctrine of fugitive tolling applies in this case, extending the period of time during which the district court was authorized to sanction defendant's violations. Defendant returned to the United States without permission, and in violation of his term of supervised release, by using an alias to avoid detection for several years. When defendant was finally apprehended and charged with violating the conditions of his supervised release, he argued that the government was too late because his five year supervised release term had expired. The court held that questions remained about the precise duration of that tolling, and whether the fugitive tolling doctrine or some other legal provision authorized the district court to impose sanctions in January of 2018. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's supervised release order and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Thompson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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After a prison official deployed a taser three times against plaintiff when plaintiff refused to hold still for an identification photograph, plaintiff filed an Eighth Amendment excessive force suit. The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment against plaintiff, holding that a reasonable jury could find that the officer used multiple shocks not to induce plaintiff's cooperation, but to punish him for his intransigence through the wanton infliction of pain. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Brooks v. Jacumin" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin, and attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin. The court held that there was no fatal variance between the indictment and the evidence offered at trial; the district court did not commit reversible error by refusing to give a multiple conspiracy charge; the district court did not err in refusing to sever defendant's trial from his codefendants'; and the district court did not err by denying defendant's motion for acquittal because the evidence was sufficient to convict him. Finally, the court held that defendant's claim that the government engaged in "outrageous conduct" and violated defendant's due process rights was without merit. View "United States v. Cannady" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court's decision affirming the bankruptcy court's conclusion that Alaska's award of damages to TKCA necessarily meant that debtor willfully and maliciously injured TKCA for purposes of section 523(a)(6) of the Bankruptcy Code. The Supreme Court, in Kawaauhau v. Geiger, 523 U.S. 57, 61 (1998), held that section 523(a)(6) requires "a deliberate or intentional injury, not merely a deliberate or intentional act that leads to injury." The court held that, because neither the Alaska district court, nor the bankruptcy court, determined the precise issue of whether debtor intended to injure TKCA, collateral estoppel and summary judgment were inappropriate. Therefore, the court remanded to the district court with instructions to remand to the bankruptcy court for further proceedings. View "TKC Aerospace Inc. v. Muhs" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision holding that conditions of confinement on Virginia's death row violated the Eighth Amendment and enjoining reinstatement of those conditions. Virginia death row inmates spent between 23 and 24 hours a day alone, in a small cell with no access to congregate religious, educational, or social programming. Inmates were denied access to any form of congregate recreation, either indoor or outdoor, and were not allowed to eat meals outside of their cells. The court held that the challenged conditions on Virginia's death row deprived inmates of the basic human need for meaningful social interaction and positive environmental stimulation. Furthermore, the undisputed evidence established that deprivation posed a substantial risk of serious psychological and emotional harm and state defendants were deliberately indifferent to that risk. View "Porter v. Clarke" on Justia Law

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WCBA appealed the district court's dismissal of its action against NACCAS, alleging due process violations in an accreditation proceeding and seeking injunctive and declaratory relief. The Fourth Circuit held that there was insufficient evidence that WCBA was deprived of an impartial decisionmaker as a result of a Commissioner's speculative pecuniary interest so as to justify a departure from the deferential standard due to an accreditation agency; NACCAS's rules did not impose a higher standard than the general common law duty to provide an impartial decisionmaker such that a violation of those rules leads to a due process violation in this case; and WCBA failed to preserve the issue of whether it was denied due process on the theory that the Commissioners who reviewed WCBA's accreditation improperly prejudged the decision by acting as both investigators and adjudicators. View "Wards Corner Beauty Academy v. National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences" on Justia Law

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JJF appealed the district court's denial of its third party claim to funds in certain deposit accounts that plaintiff, owner of a Rent-a-Wreck (RAWA) franchise, sought to garnish in his effort to satisfy a contempt award against RAWA for engaging in a pattern of bad faith conduct. JJF argued that it had priority over plaintiff's claims to the accounts. The court affirmed and held that the district court did not err in concluding that Maryland law permitted a trial court to require a third party movant to establish a bona fide claim of ownership. Therefore, the court declined to grant preclusive effect to the debtor-in-possession order and gave effect to the district court's authority to ensure compliance with its contempt orders. View "Schwartz v. J.J.F. Management Services, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy

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The Fourth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision that petitioner was deportable for committing an aggravated felony within the meaning of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The court held that petitioner's convictions for taking custodial indecent liberties with a child under Virginia Code 18.2-370.1(A) qualified categorically as an aggravated felony of sexual abuse of a minor under the INA. View "Thompson v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, nine Latino men who live in areas of Northern Virginia that were home to many residents of Latino ethnicity, filed suit against ICE agents, seeking money damages to redress the ICE agents' alleged violations of their rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Plaintiffs alleged that ICE agents stopped and detained them without a reasonable, articulable suspicion of unlawful activity; invaded their homes without a warrant, consent, or probable cause; and seized them illegally. The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of the ICE agents' motion to dismiss based on qualified immunity. The court held that a remedy under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), was not available under the circumstances of this case. The court explained that there was no statute authorizing a claim for money damages, and it was a significant step under separation-of-powers principles for a court to impose damages liability on federal officials. Because plaintiffs sought to extend Bivens liability to a context the Supreme Court has yet to recognize and there are special factors counseling hesitation in the absence of affirmative action by Congress, plaintiffs' action for damages should be dismissed. View "Tun-Cos v. Perrotte" on Justia Law