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After a charge of committing a heinous act of sexual assault was dropped against plaintiff, he filed suit against the officers who caused his arrest and the government officials he believed sanctioned the deprivation of his liberty. The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court's decision to strike the damages award, holding that the evidence reasonably supported the jury's verdict in favor of plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 malicious prosecution claim; the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity; and because the district court wrongly held that the officers' conduct did not amount to a constitutional violation, the district court never confronted whether the municipal defendants violated plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights. Accordingly, the court reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded with instructions. View "Humbert v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, who is civilly committed pursuant to the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, 18 U.S.C. 4248, appealed the district court's order denying his motion for a discharge hearing. The Fourth Circuit vacated the judgment, holding that the district court applied an incorrect standard for determining whether someone confined pursuant to the Adam Walsh Act was entitled to a discharge hearing. Accordingly, the court remanded for the district court to apply the correct standard in the first instance. The court explained that the district court must decide whether petitioner's motion contained sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for discharge that was plausible on its face. View "United States v. Maclaren" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's restitution calculation, determination of loss for purposes of sentencing, and denial of defendant's motion for recusal. In this case, defendant was convicted of orchestrating a scheme to defraud mortgage companies. The court held that the evidence supported the district court's restitution calculation; the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining the loss amount where it used the correct loss figure in sentencing defendant under the advisory Guidelines; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in its determination not to recuse where the district court's ownership of stock in some of the victim lenders did not require recusal. View "United States v. Stone" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit held that the first-to-file rule of the False Claim Act mandates dismissal of a relator's action brought while related actions were pending, even after the related actions have been dismissed and the relator's complaint has been amended, albeit without mention of the related actions. In this case, because the Carter Action violated the first-to-file rule in a manner not cured by subsequent developments, the action must be dismissed. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgments. View "US ex rel. Carter v. Halliburton Co." on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit denied the petition for review of the denial of petitioner's application for asylum and withholding of removal. The court held that substantial evidence in the record supported the IJ's factual conclusion that petitioner's case was solely one of personal conflict among family members. In this case, petitioner and her son had fled Honduras based on threats from her mother-in-law. Therefore, petitioner did not meet her burden of showing persecution "on account of" a protected ground. View "Velasquez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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After Cricket removed this class action from state court by invoking Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d), jurisdiction, the district court granted plaintiff's motion to remand. The court vacated and remanded, holding that the district court applied the wrong legal standard to Cricket's evidence. The court explained that, because the district court committed legal error in disregarding Cricket's evidence as overinclusive, the court was unable to engage in appellate review to determine whether Cricket met its burden to prove jurisdiction. View "Scott v. Cricket Communications, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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After a dispute arose regarding DynCorp's billing practices, Northrop Grumman filed suit against DynCorp in Virginia state court seeking to compel DynCorp to provide documentation to substantiate DynCorp's invoices. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's order remanding the case to state court, holding that Northrop Grumman filed an untimely notice of removal after demonstrating a clear intent to pursue the case to completion in the state court. View "Northrop Grumman Technical Services, Inc. v. DynCorp International LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Fifth Circuit vacated an order of restitution, holding that the Victim and Witness Protection Act (VWPA), 18 U.S.C. 3663, applied to defendant's crime of interference with flight crew members and attendants because it was not categorically a crime of violence as defined by section 18 U.S.C. 16. Therefore, the district court erred by holding that the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA), 18 U.S.C. 3663A, applied to the offense. The court remanded for redetermination of the issue of restitution. On remand, should the district court determine that restitution was proper, the district court must order the full amount of loss as determined by the district court. View "United States v. Diaz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed defendant's 180 month sentence after he pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The court held that defendant's prior conviction for the North Carolina offense of robbery with a dangerous weapon qualifies as a violent felony under the force clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e). View "United States v. Burns-Johnson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed defendant's 420 month sentence that was issued on remand. Defendant was convicted of several charges related to his involvement in running brothels in Annapolis. The court held that the district court did not contravene the mandate rule; because defendant did not receive an increased aggregate sentence, his attempt to establish a presumption of vindictiveness failed; and defendant's sentence was procedurally and substantively reasonable. View "United States v. Ventura" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law