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Supreme Court Rules Tribal Police May Detain and Hunt Non-Native Americans

In United States v. Cooley, 593 U.S. ____ (2021), the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that a tribal police officer has the ability to detain temporarily and to hunt non-Indian persons traveling public rights-of-way operating through a reservation for potential violations of federal or state legislation.

Facts of this Case

Late 1 night, Officer James Saylor of this Crow Police Department approached a truck parked on United States Highway 212, a public right-of-way in the Crow Reservation in the State of Montana. Saylor talked to the driver, Joshua James Cooley, also discovered that Cooley appeared to be non-native and had watery, bloodshot eyes. Saylor also detected two semiautomatic rifles lying around Cooley’s front seat. Fearing violence, Saylor purchased Cooley from this truck and ran a pat down search. Saylor also saw from the truck a glass pipe and a plastic bag which contained methamphetamine. Additional officers, for example an officer with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, arrived on the scene in response to Saylor’s call for help. Saylor was directed to seize all contraband in plain view, resulting in Saylor to detect more methamphetamine. Saylor took Cooley into the Crow Police Department in which federal and local officials farther contested Cooley.

A federal grand jury subsequently indicted Cooley on drug and gun crimes. The District Court granted Cooley’s motion to suppress the drug evidence. It concluded that a police officer would stop (and hold for a reasonable time) a non-Indian suspect if the officer first tries to ascertain whether the defendant is non-Indian and, even in the course of doing this, finds a clear violation of federal or state law. The Ninth Circuit reasoned that Saylor had neglected to make that initial determination .

Supreme Court’s Conclusion

The U.S. Supreme Court reversed, holding that Japanese officers have the authority to investigate potential violations of state or federal laws that are applicable to non-Indians on a public right-of-way inside the reservation.

“We have previously noted that a tribe retains inherent sovereign authority to address’conduct [that] threatens or has a direct effect on… the health or welfare of this tribe,””’ Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote behalf of their unanimous Court. “We think that this statement of legislation governs here. And we hold the tribal officer possesses the power at issue.”

It went on to describe that one of the exceptions to the general rule”fits almost like a glove “: A tribe retains inherent jurisdiction over the conduct of non-Indians on the reservation”when that conduct threatens or has a direct effect on… the welfare or wellbeing of the tribe.”

“To deny a tribal police officer authority to hunt and detain for a reasonable time any individual he or she considers may commit or has committed a crime would make it difficult for tribes to safeguard themselves against ongoing threats,” Justice Breyer wrote. “Such threats could be posed by, for instance, non-Indian drunk drivers, transporters of contraband or even criminal offenders operating on roads within the bounds of a tribal reservation.”

The Supreme Court raised concerns about the workability of the Ninth Circuit’s criteria, which might call for tribal officers first to ascertain if a defendant is non-Indian and, if so, to temporarily detain a non-Indian just for”apparent” offenses. As Justice Breyer explainedthe first requirement produces an incentive to lie, even although the second need introduces a new benchmark in to search and seizure legislation and creates a issue of interpretation which will arise frequently given the incidence of non-Indians in Indian reserves.
The post Supreme Court Rules Tribal Police Can Detain and Search Non-Native Americans appeared first on Constitutional Law Reporter.…

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SCOTUS Rules FOIA Exception Applies to Environmental Opinion

In U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club, 592 U. S. ____ (2021), the U.S. Supreme Court maintained that the deliberative process privilege offers protection from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to in-house draft biological opinions which are both predecisional and deliberative, even if the drafts reflect the agencies’ last views regarding a proposal. Justice Amy Coney Barrett authored the majority view, her first since joining the courtroom. .

Facts of this Case

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule in 2011 regarding”cooling water intake structures” used to cool industrial gear. Because aquatic wildlife can become trapped in such intake structures and perish, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 required the EPA to consult the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (together, the”Services”) prior to proceeding.

Adhering to this essential inspection, the Services prepare an official”biological opinion” (known as a”hazard” or”no jeopardy” biological opinion) Changing if the agency’s proposal will jeopardize the existence of threatened or endangered species. After consulting with the Services, the EPA made adjustments to its proposed rule, along with the Services received the revised version in November 2013. Staff members at NMFS and FWS shortly completed draft biological opinions concluding that the November 2013 planned rule was going to jeopardize particular species. Staff members sent those drafts to the relevant decisionmakers within every agency, but decisionmakers at the Services neither accepted the loopholes nor sent them to the EPA. The Services instead shelved the draft opinions and agreed with the EPA to expand the length of consultation. Following these continued talks, the EPA sent the Services a revised proposed rule in March 2014 that differed significantly from the 2013 variant. Satisfied that the revised rule was not likely to harm any protected species, the Services issued a joint closing”no jeopardy” biological opinion.

Sierra Club, an environmental company, submitted FOIA requests for records associated with the Services’ consultations with the EPA. FOIA requires that federal agencies make records accessible to the public upon request, unless these records fall within one of nine exemptions. Exemption 5 incorporates the privileges offered to Government agencies in civil litigation, such as the deliberative process privilege, attorney-client privilege, and lawyer work-product privilege. The Services invoked the deliberative process privilege, which protects from disclosure documents generated through an agency’s deliberations about a policy, rather than files that embody or explain a policy which the bureau adopts. The Sierra Club sued to obtain those withheld documents. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the draft biological opinions were not privileged because although tagged as drafts, the draft opinions represented the Services’ final opinion regarding the EPA’s 2013 proposed rule.

Supreme Court’s Decision

By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court reversed. “The deliberative process privilege protects the draft biological feedback from disclosure since they are both predecisional and deliberative,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett composed on behalf of this Court.

In her view, Justice Barrett explained that the deliberative process privilege intends to boost agency decisionmaking by”encouraging candor and blunting the frightening impact which accompanies the prospect of disclosure.” V. Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp., 421 U. S. 168 (1975), she further noted that the freedom distinguishes between predecisional, deliberative files, which are exempt from disclosure, and files reflecting a final agency decision and the reasons behind it, which aren’t.

“It is not always self-evident whether a document signifies an agency’s final decision, but one thing is apparent: A document is not final only because nothing else follows . Sometimes a proposal dies on the vine,” Justice Barrett composed. “That occurs in deliberations–a few thoughts are discarded or just languish. Yet documents speaking such dead-end thoughts can barely be described as reflecting the agency’s chosen course. What things, then, is not whether a document is last in line, but if it conveys a coverage on which the bureau has settled”

Relying on this frame, the Court went on to conclude that the deliberative process privilege protects the draft biological feedback from disclosure since they reflect a preliminary view–not a final conclusion –concerning the EPA’s proposed 2013 rule. In support, Justice Barrett emphasized that the Services identified all these records as”drafts.” Even though Justice Barrett acknowledged that the tag is not determinative, the Court found that it was accurate in this case since the opinions were subject to both change and had no direct legal implications.

The Court further found that since the decision makers neither accepted the loopholes nor sent them to the EPA, they are best described not as draft biological opinions but as”drafts of draft biological opinions” In rejecting the arguments raised by the Sierra Club, the Court further concluded that although the drafts could have had the practical effect of provoking EPA to revise its rule, the deliberative privilege still applies since the Services did not treat the loopholes as closing but rather upon to further discussion.
The post SCOTUS Rules FOIA Exception Applies to Environmental Opinion appeared on Constitutional Law Reporter.…

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Criminal law

US Supreme Court Sides with Facebook at TCPA Case

Under the Court’s narrow interpretation of the robocall ban, Facebook didn’t violate the TCPA when it delivered unsolicited text messages to individuals without their approval.

Facts of the Case

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) proscribes abusive telemarketing practices , among other things, restricting specific communications made by having an”automatic telephone dialing system.” The TCPA defines such”autodialers” as gear with the capability both”to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator,” and also to dial those numbers.

Petitioner Facebook, Inc., keeps a social networking platform which, as a security feature, allows users to select to receive text messages when someone attempts to log in to the user’s account in a new browser or device. Facebook sent such texts to Noah Duguid, forcing him to login action on a Facebook account connected to his telephone number, however, Duguid never created the account (or any account on Facebook). Duguid tried without success to prevent the unwanted messages, and finally brought a putative class actions against Facebook. He declared that Facebook breached the TCPA by keeping up a database which stored phone numbers and programming its gear to send automatic text messages. Facebook cautioned that the TCPA does not apply since the technology it used to text Duguid didn’t use a”sequential or random number generator.”

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. It held the §227(a)(1) applies to a notification platform like Facebook’s which has the capacity to dial automatically stored amounts.

Supreme Court’s Decision

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote on behalf of the Court.

“The issue before the Court is whether that definition encompasses equipment that could’store’ and dial telephone numbers, even if the device does not’us[e] a sequential or random number generator.’ “To be eligible as an’automatic telephone dialing system,’ a device must have the capacity either to store a telephone number using a sequential or random generator or to create a telephone number using a sequential or random number generator.”

In reaching its conclusion, the Court agreed with Facebook that the TCPA clause”using a sequential or random number generator” modifies both genders,”store” and”produce.” In service, the Court mentioned the traditional rules of grammar, especially the”series-qualifier canon,” which instructs that a modifier in the conclusion of a succession of nouns or verbs applies to the entire series. Since Justice Sotomayor clarified , the canon indicates that the modifying phrase”using a sequential or random number generator” qualifies both antecedent verbs,”store” and”produce.” She further noted that since the modifying term immediately follows a succinct, incorporated clause (“store or produce telephone numbers to be called”), that utilizes the phrase”or” to link two verbs which share a common immediate object (“telephone numbers to be called”), it would be”strange” to apply the modifier to only 1 part of their paychecks.

The Court also found that the statutory context supported its own interpretation. Since Justice Sotomayor explained, Congress discovered autodialer technology harmful because autodialers could dial emergency lines inadvertently or join all the sequentially numbered phone lines in a single thing. Duguid’s interpretation, on the other hand, would encircle any gear that shops and dials telephone numbers.

Finally, the Court refused Duguid’s counterarguments, for example that the TCPA ought to be treated as an”agile” instrument which accepting Facebook’s interpretation will unleash a”torrent of robocalls.” Justice Sotomayor wrote:

Duguid significantly overstates the ramifications of accepting Facebook’s interpretation. The statute individually prohibits calls using”an artificial or prerecorded voice” to various types of phone lines, such as home phones and cell phones, unless an exclusion applies. Our decision does not affect that prohibition. In any case, Duguid’s quarrel is with Congress, that didn’t specify an autodialer as malleably as he would have enjoyed. “Senescent” as a few generator (and possibly the TCPA itself ) could be, that is no justification for eschewing that the very best reading of §227(a)(1)(A). This Court must interpret what Congress wrote, which is that”using a sequential or random number generator” modifies both”store” and”produce.”
The article US Supreme Court Sides with Facebook in TCPA Case appeared on Constitutional Law Reporter.…

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Criminal law

SCOTUS Backs FCC in FCC v. Prometheus Radio Project

The Court’s decision was unanimous.

Facts of this Case

Under its extensive authority to regulate broadcast media from the public interest, the FCC has long maintained several ownership rules which restrict the amount of radio stations, tv stations, and newspapers that a single entity could own in a given market. Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 directs the FCC to review its media ownership rules every 3 decades and to repeal or modify any rules which no longer serve the general interest.

In 2017, the FCC reasoned that three of its ownership rules were not required to encourage competition, localism, or viewpoint diversity. It concluded that the record evidence did not indicate that repealing or altering these 3 rules was likely to damage minority and female ownership. Based on such an analysis, the bureau made a decision to redesign just two of the 3 ownership rules and modify the third. Prometheus Radio Project along with several other general interest and consumer advocacy groups (collectively, Prometheus) petitioned for review, arguing that the FCC’s decision to repeal or modify the 3 rules was arbitrary and capricious under APA. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the FCC’s reconsideration order, holding that the record did not support the agency’s conclusion that the rule changes would have minimal effect on minority and female ownership.

Supreme Court’s Conclusion

“[W]e conclude that the FCC’s 2017 arrangement was reasonable and reasonably clarified for purposes of the APA’s deferential arbitrary-and-capricious standard. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Third Circuit,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh composed on behalf of this Court.

The FCC also concluded that the 3 rules were no longer required to encourage competition, localism, and viewpoint diversity, which altering the rules was not likely to damage minority and female ownership.

The FCC’s evaluation was reasonable and reasonably clarified for purposes of the APA’s deferential arbitrary-and-capricious standard. The FCC considered that the record evidence in competition, localism, perspective diversity, and minority and female ownership, and

Reasonably concluded that the 3 ownership rules no longer serve the general interest. The FCC concluded that the historical justifications for those ownership rules no longer apply in today’s media market, which permitting efficient combinations one of radio stations, television stations, and news- newspapers would benefit consumers. The Commission further clarified that its best estimate, based on the sparse record evidence, was that repealing or changing the 3 rules at issue here was not likely to damage minority and female ownership. The APA needs no more.

The Court rejected Prometheus’ arguments that the FCC’s evaluation of the likely impact of the rule changes on minority and female ownership rested on flawed data. The Court emphasized that the FCC declared that the gaps in the data collections it depended on, and noticed that, despite its repeated requests for additional data, it had obtained no countervailing evidence suggesting that altering the 3 ownership rules was likely to damage minority and female ownership. The Court also noted that the APA demands no general obligation on agencies to commission or conduct their own empirical or statistical studies. Furthermore, nothing in the Telecommunications Act requires the FCC to conduct such research before exercising its discretion under Section 202(h).

“The FCC repeatedly requested commenters to submit statistical or empirical research on the association between the ownership rules and minority and female ownership,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote. “Despite the asks, no commenter produced such evidence indicating that altering the rules was likely to damage minority and female ownership”

In the end, the Court reasoned that the FCC made a reasonable predictive judgment based on the evidence . “In light of this sparse record on minority and female ownership along with also the FCC’s findings with respect to competition, localism, and perspective diversity, we cannot say the bureau’s decision to repeal or modify the ownership rules fell out the zone of reasonableness for purposes of the APA,” Justice Kavanaugh composed.…

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Criminal law

Divided Court Strikes Down COVID-19 Restrictions on In-Home Religious Gatherings

On April 9, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Tandon v. Newsom, 593 U. S. ____ (2021) that California’s COVID-19 limitations on religious gatherings in homes likely run afoul of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.

Facts of this Case

The situation includes California’s COVID-19 limitations on”gatherings,” described as”societal scenarios that bring together people from various families at precisely the exact identical time in one area or place.” On November 13, 2020, the State issued guidance”[l]imiting attendance at gatherings.” Under the Gatherings Guidance, people may visit a”private gathering” outdoors in most areas of the Condition, and indoors in most counties except those designated as Tier 1 based on current health conditions. Such gatherings must be restricted to no more than three families (whether indoor or outdoor), and attendees are required to wear masks and physically distance away from one another.

The trial court denied the motion for preliminary injunction. It rejected plaintiffs’ contention that the State unconstitutionally didn’t employ the same limitations –including the three-household limitation–to”a host of similar secular actions,” such as”entering crowded train stations, airports, and mallsand salons, along with retail stores, waiting in extended check-out lines, and also riding buses.” It further found that the plaintiffs”are making the wrong comparison because the record does not support that private religious gatherings in houses are similar –in relation to risk to public health or moderate safety measures to address that risk–to [the] commercial activities” recorded by plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs sought aid in the Supreme Court, asking it to grant an injunction. “Under these rules, Pastor Wong and Karen Busch can sit to get a haircut with 10 other people in a barbershop, eat in a half-full restaurant (with members of 20 unique families), or journey together with 15 other people to a city bus, but it is impossible for them to host three people from various families to get a Bible study indoors or in their backyards. The State therefore treats religious exercise much more harshly than quirky actions,” they argued.

Supreme Court’s Decision

A split Supreme Court allowed the application for a preliminary injunction and enjoined enforcement of this Gatherings Guidance. Chief Justice John Roberts would have denied this program, as would Justice Elena Kagan, who filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

“Applicants are most likely to be successful on the merits of the free exercise claim; they’re harmed by the lack of free exercise rights’for even minimal periods of time’; and the State has not proven that’public health could be imperiled’ by employing less restrictive measures,” the Court wrote in a per curium opinion. “Accordingly, applicants are eligible for an injunction pending appeal.”

The Court made four points in support of its decision. Citing its previous decision in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, 592 U.S. ___, ___–___ (2020), the Court said that government regulations are not neutral and generally applicable, and for that reason trigger strict scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause, whenever they treat any similar secular activity more favorably than religious practice. “It’s no answer that a Condition treats some similar secular companies or other actions as poorly as even less favorably than the religious exercise at issue,” the Court wrote. Second, the Court the emphasized that”whether two actions are comparable for purposes of the Free Exercise Clause has to be pitted against the asserted government interest that justifies the regulation at issue,” noting that”[c]omparability is worried about the dangers various actions pose, not the reasons why folks collect”

Third, the Court said that the government has the burden to prove that the contested law suits strict scrutiny. Citing Judge Gorsuch in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, 592 U. S. ___, ___ (2021), the Court found the way to do so within this circumstance, it has to do more than claim that specific risk factors”are constantly present in sin, or consistently absent in the other royal activities” the government might allow. “Rather, narrow tailoring requires the government to show that measures less restrictive compared to the First Amendment activity could not manage its interest in reducing the spread of COVID,” the Court wrote. “Where the government enables additional activities to move together with precautions, it has to show that the religious practice at issue is more dangerous than those activities even if the same precautions are implemented. Otherwise, precautions that suffice to different tasks suffice for religious practice too.”

Fourth, the Court noted that even if the government withdraws or modifies a COVID limitation in the course of litigation, that does not necessarily moot the situation. “As long as a case isn’t moot, litigants differently eligible for emergency injunctive relief remain eligible for such relief in which the candidates’remain under a constant threat’ that government officials will use their power to reinstate the contested limitations,” the Court wrote.

The Count went to apply the above principles to the facts of this situation. First, the Court noted that California treats some similar secular activities more favorably than at-home religious exercise, permitting hair salons, retail stores, healthcare providers, movie theatres, private suites in sporting events and concerts, and even indoor restaurants to bring together over three families at one time. It went on to highlight that the Ninth Circuit did not conclude that those actions pose a lesser threat of transmission than applicants’ proposed religious exercise in the home. “The Ninth Circuit wrongly rejected these comparators because this Court’s previous choices entailed public buildings instead of private buildings,” the Court wrote.

Third, the Court found that rather than requiring the State to clarify why it could not safely permit at-home worshipers to gather in larger quantities while using precautions utilized in particular actions, the Ninth Circuit wrongly declared that such measures might not”translate easily” into the home. “The State can’t’assume the worst if folks go to worship but presume the very finest when folks head to work,””’ the Court wrote. Although California officials altered the contested policy shortly after the application was filed, the Court noted that the preceding constraints remain in position until April 15th, also”officials having a track record of’moving the goalposts’ retain ability to reinstate those increased limitations at any time.”
The article Divided Court Strikes Down COVID-19 Restrictions on In-Home Religious Gatherings appeared on Constitutional Law Reporter.…

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Criminal law

Finding of Permanent Incorrigibility Not Needed to Impose Life Sentence on Juvenile

By a vote of 6-3, the Court held that the Eighth Amendment doesn’t require a sentencer to discover that a juvenile is indefinitely incorrigible prior to imposing a sentence of life without parole.

Facts of the Case

A Mississippi jury convicted petitioner Brett Jones of murder for killing his secretary. Jones had been 15 years old when he committed the crime. Under Mississippi law at the time, murder carried a mandatory sentence of life without parole. The trial judge imposed that sentence, that had been affirmed on direct appeal.

The Supreme Court then decided Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), that held that the Eighth Amendment allows a life-without-parole sentence for a defendant who committed a homicide when he or she was under 18, however only as long as the sentence isn’t compulsory and the sentencer consequently has discretion to impose a lesser punishment. In the wake of that decision, the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered that Jones be resentenced in accordance with Miller.

At the resentencing, the sentencing judge confessed that he had discretion under Miller to impose a sentence less than life without parole. The judge decided, but that life with no parole remained the appropriate sentence for Jones. Jones again appealed his sentenceciting both Miller and the then-recently chose case of Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U.S. 190 (2016), that held that Miller applied retroactively on collateral review. Jones claimed that, under Miller and Montgomery, a sentencer should make a different factual finding that a murderer under 18 is eternally incorrigible until sentencing the offender to life with no parole. The Mississippi Court of Appeals rejected Jones’s debate.

Supreme Court’s Decision

The Supreme Court confirmed, together with Justice Brett Kavanaugh writing on behalf of the Court. The Court held that its precedents set forth in Miller and Montgomery don’t need the sentencer to generate a different factual finding of permanent incorrigibility before sentencing the defendant to life without parole. It further found , in this case, a discretionary sentencing system is equally constitutionally required and constitutionally adequate. Justice Kavanaugh wrote:

In Miller, the Court mandated”just that a sentencer follow a particular procedure –contemplating an offender’s childhood and attendant traits –before tripping” a life-without-parole sentence. And in Montgomery v. Louisiana, that held

That Miller applies retroactively on collateral review, the Court flatly said that”Miller did not impose an official factfinding condition” and added that”a finding of fact regarding a kid’s incorrigibility… isn’t needed.” In light of that explicit language in the Court’s prior decisions, we have to reject Jones’s debate.

In reaching its decision, the Court emphasized that Miller and Montgomery require consideration of a criminal’s childhood but not any particular factual finding. Accordingly, it found that Miller and Montgomery therefore refute Jones’s argument that a finding of permanent incorrigibility is constitutionally necessary. The Court also rejected the argument that a sentencer give an on-the-record sentencing justification having an”proposed finding” of permanent incorrigibility before sentencing a murderer below 18 to life with no parole. An on-the-record sentencing justification is required nor consistent with Miller or Montgomery, Justice Kavanaugh noted, adding that case says anything concerning a sentencing explanation.

Finally, Justice Kavanaugh emphasized that the Court’s judgment should not be interpreted to disturb its own conclusions in Miller or Montgomery. “Miller held that a State may not impose a compulsory life-without-parole sentence onto a murderer under 18. Today’s decision doesn’t disturb that carrying,” he also wrote. Now’s decision also doesn’t disturb that holding.”

Justice Kavanaugh also highlighted that the Court’s decision should not be construed as agreement or disagreement with Jones’s sentence. Additionally, it will preclude Jones from presenting his moral and policy arguments against his life-without-parole sentence to the state officials who are authorized to act on those arguments.
The post Finding of Permanent Incorrigibility Not Required to Impose Life Sentence on Juvenile appeared first on Constitutional Law Reporter.…

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Criminal law

Supreme Court Clarifies Reputation Requirements for Habeas Claim

In Alaska v. Wright, 593 U.S. ____ (2021), the U.S. Supreme Court maintained that if offenders have finished serving their nation court sentence, they also lack standing to bring a federal habeas claim.

Facts of the Case

In 2009, an Alaska jury convicted Sean Wright of 13 counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Wright finished serving his sentence in Alaska in 2016, and shortly afterwards he moved into Tennessee. Once there, he also failed to register as a sex offender as required by law. Wright pleaded guilty to a single count of failure to register, and ultimately received a sentence of time served together with five years of supervised release.

During the class of these federal event, Wright filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the District of Alaska pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§2241 and 2254. He argued that the Alaska Supreme Court had unreasonably applied clearly established federal law when it denied his Sixth Amendment claims and affirmed his 2009 state conviction and sentence. The District Court denied the motion over the threshold ground that Wright was not”in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court.” Noting that a proper motion under §2254(a) takes more than simply being”in custody” someplace, the court concluded that”the proper process of Wright to challenge his current federal custody would be a motion filed in the Eastern District of Tennessee pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2255.”

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. In its view, Wright’s state conviction was”a necessary predicate” to his national conviction, (quoting Zichko v. Idaho, 247 F. 3d 1015, 1019 (CA9 2001)), so Wright was actually in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court. The panel declined to check the District Court’s view that §2255, instead of §2254, given the appropriate path for Wright to battle his present custody. One judge concurred and asserted that §2254 has been the appropriate mechanics”because Wright isn’t attacking the constitutionality of his federal conviction for failing to register as a sex offender in Tennessee; he’s collaterally attacking the constitutionality of his predicate Alaska conviction for sexual abuse of a minor.”

Supreme Court’s Conclusion

Citing Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488 (1989) (per curiam), the Court further noted that a habeas petitioner does not remain”in custody” under a conviction”after the sentence imposed for it has fully expired, yet only Due to the possibility that the prior conviction is utilized to improve the sentences imposed for

Any subsequent crimes of which he’s convicted.” In that instance, the Court maintained that it made no difference that the possibility of a prior-conviction augmentation had materialized for the habeas petitioner in this case:”When the second sentence is enforced, it’s pursuant to the second conviction that the petitioner is incarcerated and is therefore’in custody. ”’

Based on its prior precedent, the Court concluded that the fact that Wright’s state conviction served as a predicate for his federal conviction failed to leave him”in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court” under §2254(a). The Court wrote:

If Wright’s second conviction had been for a state offense, he individually might have fulfilled §2254(a)’s”in custody” requirement, though his ability to strike the first conviction so would have been limited. Wright could not meet §2254(a) on this independent foundation for the very simple reason that his second judgment was entered by a federal court. (internal citations omitted).

The Supreme Court voiced express no view on the opposite theories Wright progressed before the District Court for meeting the needs of §2254(a). It calms the appeals court ruling and remanded the case back to the district court for proceedings consistent with the opinion.
The article Supreme Court Clarifies Reputation Requirements for Habeas Claim appeared first on Constitutional Law Reporter.…

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Criminal law

SCOTUS Rules FTC Can Not Pursue Equitable Relief

During AMG Capital Management, LLC v. FTC, 593 U.S. ____ (2021), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission) is not approved to pursue equitable monetary relief like restitution or disgorgement. The Court’s decision, which represents a setback to the FTC’s enforcement plan, was unanimous.

Facts of the Case

In 2012, the FTC filed suit against Scott Tucker and his employers, alleging deceptive cash lending practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act. In asserting that Tucker’s clinics were likely to deceive consumers, the Commission didn’t first use its administrative event. Rather, the Commission filed a complaint against Tucker straight in court. The Commission, relying upon Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, requested the court to issue a permanent injunction to stop Tucker from perpetrate ting future violations of the Act. Determined by the exact same supply, the Commission also requested the court to dictate monetary relief, specifically, restitution and disgorgement. Section 13(b) Requires the Commission to obtain,”in proper cases,” that a more”permanent injunction” in federal court against”any person, partnership, or corporation” that it believes”is violating, or is about to violate, any provision of regulation” the Commission enforces.

On appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Tucker’s argument that §13(b) doesn’t authorize the award of equitable monetary relief.

Supreme Court’s Decision

The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Section 13(b) doesn’t authorize the FTC to hunt, or a court to award, equitable monetary relief like restitution or disgorgement. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote on behalf of their unanimous Court.

Since Justice Breyer explained, the fundamental question was whether Congress, by enacting §13(b) and employing the words”permanent injunction,” granted the Commission authority to obtain monetary relief direct from courts and efficiently bypass the needs of the administrative process. The Court concluded it did not.

“Several considerations, taken together, convince us that §13(b)’s’permanent injunction’ language doesn’t authorize the Commission right to obtain court-ordered monetary relief,” Justice Breyer wrote. The Court first noted that Section 13(b) provides the

“Commission may seek… a permanent injunction.” Since Justice Breyer explained,”An’injunction’ is not the same as an award of equitable monetary relief.”

The Court further concluded that the”speech and structure of §13(b), chosen as a whole, suggest that the words’permanent injunction’ have a limited purpose–a purpose that doesn’t extend into the grant of monetary relief.” In support, Justice Breyer cited language, such as”is breaking” and”is going to violate” (not”has violated”), indicating that the supply focuses upon relief that’s prospective, not retrospective, i.e. quitting apparently unfair practices from occurring while the Commission determines their lawfulness.

[T]o examine these words as letting what they don’t say, namely, as permitting the Commission to dispense with administrative proceedings to gain monetary relief as well, would be to read the words going well beyond the supply’s subject matter,” Justice Breyer wrote. “In light of their historic relevance of administrative proceedings, that studying would allow a tiny statutory tail to wag a very large dog.”

The Court also found that the structure of the Act past §13(b) confirmed its conclusion.

Congress in §5(l) and §19 gave district courts the authority to enforce limited monetary penalties and to grant monetary relief in cases where the Commission has issued cease and desist orders, i.e., where the Commission has participated in administrative proceedings. Since in these provisions Congress explicitly provided for”other and additional equitable relief,” 15 U. S. C. §45(l), and also for the”refund of money or return of property,” §57b(b), it likely did not intend for §13(b)’s more cabined”permanent injunction” terminology to get similarly extensive scope.

The Court went on to deny the FTC’s arguments as to why it should qualify to obtain monetary relief. In so ruling, the Court highlighted the FTC can still look for restitution and disgorgement under other provisions of the FTC Act.

“Nothing we say now, however, prohibits the Commission from using its authority under §5 and §19 to obtain restitution on behalf of consumers,” Justice Breyer wrote. “When the Commission believes that authority too cumbersome or inadequate, it is, obviously, free to ask Congress to grant it additional remedial authority.” Legislation has been introduced in Congress that would authorize the FTC to look for monetary equitable relief.
The post SCOTUS Rules FTC Can’t Pursue Equitable Relief appeared first on Constitutional Law Reporter.…

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Criminal law

Justices Refuse to Require Issue Exhaustion of Social Security Claimant

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in Carr v. Saul, 593 U.S. ____ (2021), the principles of issue fatigue don’t require Social Security disability claimants to argue at the service level which the administrative law judges hearing their disability claims were unconstitutionally appointed.

Facts of the Case

They each unsuccessfully challenged their various adverse benefit determination in a hearing before an SSA administrative law judge (ALJ).

Thereafter, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Lucia v. SEC, 585 U.S. ___, that held the appointment of Securities and Exchange Commission ALJs by Immunology employees violated the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. Since the SSA ALJs who denied petitioners’ claims were also appointed by lower-level staff, the petitioners argued in federal court they were eligible for some new administrative review from constitutionally appointed ALJs. In each circumstance, the Court of Appeals held that petitioners could not obtain judicial review in the Appointments Clause claims because they failed to raise those challenges in their administrative event.

Supreme Court’s Decision

The justices unanimously agreed the Courts of Appeals erred in imposing an issue-exhaustion need for petitioners’ Appointments Clause claims. Justice Sonia Sotomayor composed on behalf of the Court.

In her view, Justice Sotomayor clarified that administrative review strategies usually require parties to provide the agency an chance to deal with a problem prior to seeking judicial review of that question, noting such administrative issue-exhaustion conditions are generally animals of statute or law. Citing Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103 (2000),” Justice Sotomayor further clarified when no statute or law imposes an issue-exhaustion condition, courts choose whether to take issue exhaustion according to”an apology to the principle that appellate courts will not consider arguments not raised before trial courts.” In Sims, that declined to employ an issue-exhaustion necessity to SSA Appeals Council event, the Supreme Court clarified that”the rationale for requiring issue exhaustion is at its greatest” if”the parties are expected to create the problems in an adversarial administrative proceedings,” but is”much weaker” if”an administrative proceeding isn’t adversarial.”

Regarding the petitioners’ Appointments Clause challenges, the Court concluded that two considerations tip the scales decidedly against imposing an issue-exhaustion

requirement. “First, this Court has frequently observed that agency adjudications are usually ill suited to address structural inherent difficulties, which generally fall out the adjudicators’ regions of technical experience,” Justice Sotomayor composed. “As such, it’s occasionally appropriate for people to entertain constitutional challenges to statutes or other agency-wide policies even when these challenges weren’t increased in ad- ministrative proceedings.”

Second, Justice Sotomayor noted the Court has always recognized a futility exception to fatigue requirements. “It makes little sense to require litigants to present claims to adjudicators who are helpless to provide the relief requested. Such a vain exercise will rarely’protec[t] administrative service authority’ or’promot[e] judicial efficiency,”’ she composed.

The Court concluded that both of the above considerations applied fully to the scenario, emphasizing that Petitioners assert purely constitutional claims regarding which SSA ALJs have no special experience and they can offer no relief. “Taken collectively, the inquisitorial features of SSA ALJ event, the inherent nature of petitioners’ claims, and also the unavailability of any treatment produce clear that’adversarial development’ of the Appointments Clause issue’simply [did] not exist’ (also could not exist) in petitioners’ ALJ event,” Justice Sotomayor composed.
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Criminal law

SCOTUS Rules”Community Caretaking” Exception Can’t Justify Warrantless Searches of Homes

As stated by the Court, neither the holding nor logic of Cady v. Dombrowski justified the elimination of Caniglia’s firearms out of his home by police officers running a welfare check.

Facts of the Case

During a discussion with his wife, petitioner Edward Caniglia put a handgun on the dining room table and requested his wife “shoot [him] and get it over with.” His spouse rather left the home and spent the night at a hotel. The next morning, she was unable to achieve her husband by telephone, so she phoned the police to request that a welfare check.

The responding officers accompanied Caniglia’s spouse to the home, in which they found Caniglia on the porch. The officers called an ambulance based on the belief that Caniglia posed a threat to himself or others. Caniglia agreed to go to the hospital for a psychiatric examination on the condition that the officers never confiscate his firearms. However, once Caniglia left, the officers located and seized his weapons.

Caniglia filed lawsuit, alleging that the officers had entered his home and seized his firearms without a warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The District Court granted summary judgment to the officers. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, extrapolating from the Supreme Court’s decision in Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433 (1973), also a theory that the officers’ elimination of Caniglia along with his firearms from his home was justified by a”community caretaking exception” to the warrant requirement. In support of its decision, the Court noted the police officers who patrol the”public highways” are usually called to discharge noncriminal”neighborhood care-taking purposes,” such as responding to disabled vehicles or investigating accidents.

Supreme Court’s Decision

“The issue now is if Cady’s correlation of these’caretaking’ duties creates a standalone doctrine that justifies warrantless searches and seizures in the home. It Doesn’t,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote on behalf of the Court.

As stated by the Court, the First Circuit’s interpretation of the community caretaking rule”goes beyond anything that this court has recognized.” Since Justice Thomas explained, the”recognition that police officers play several civic tasks in contemporary society was merely that–

A recognition that these tasks exist, and not an open-ended permit to execute them anywhere.”

In his view, Justice Thomas also emphasized that searches of automobiles and houses are constitutionally distinct. He also noticed that Cady made this type of differentiation. “What is reasonable for vehicles differs from what’s reasonable for houses,” Thomas wrote. “Cady recognized too much, and this Court has repeatedly’declined to expand the scope of all… exceptions to the warrant requirement to allow warrantless entry into the home. ”’…

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Criminal law

SCOTUS Rules District Courts Can’t Second Guess Appellate Courts’ Ruling on Prices

The justices’ decision was unanimous.

Facts of this Case

The City of San Antonio–acting on behalf of a class of 173 Texas municipalities–has been granted a multi-million-dollar judgment in Federal District Court against many of popular online travel firms (OTCs) over the calculation of hotel occupancy taxes. To reduce execution on that judgment pending appeal, the OTCs acquired supersedeas bonds procuring the ruling.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals determined that the OTCs hadn’t underpaid in their own taxes. In compliance with Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 39(d), the OTCs registered with the circuit clerk that a bill of costs searching for unmanned docketing fees and printing expenses, which were taxed without objection. The OTCs subsequently filed a statement of charges in the District Court seeking over $2.3 million in costs–mainly for premiums paid to the supersedeas bonds which are recorded in Rule 39(e) as”taxable in the district court to the benefit of the party entitled to costs.”

San Antonio cried and encouraged the District Court to exercise its discretion to decline to tax all or most of those costs.

Supreme Court’s Decision

The Supreme Court unanimously affirmed, holding that Rule 39 does not allow a district court to change a court of appeals’ allocation of these expenses recorded in subdivision (e) of that Rule. Justice Samuel Alito wrote on behalf of this Court.

In reaching its conclusion, the Court rejected San Antonio’s argument that”the appellate court could state’who will get costs (party A, party B, or neither)’ but lacks’ability to divide up costs. ”’ Instead, the justices sided with the OTCs, agreeing that the appellate court has the discretion to divide up the costs as it deems suitable and that a district court cannot change that allocation.

“There’s a longstanding tradition of awarding certain costs other than attorney’s fees to prevailing parties in the national courts,” Justice Alito clarified. He added that Rule 39″does not imply that the court of appeals may not divide up costs,” but”[o]n the contrary, the jurisdiction of a court of appeals to do just that is strongly encouraged by the relationship between the default rules and the court of appeals’ ability to’order differently. ”’

Justice Alito went on to emphasize that the court of appeals’ conclusion that a party is”entitled” to a particular proportion of costs would mean little if the district court could have a second look at the equities. He wrote:

Suppose that a court of appeals, in a case where the district court’s ruling is supported, awards the prevailing appellee 70% of its costs. In case the district court, in an exercise of its own discretion, later reduced those costs by halfan appellee would get just 35% of its costs–in direct violation of the court of appeals’ instructions. Or assume that the court of appeals, believing that the decision below was plainly incorrect, awards the prevailing appellant 100% of its costs. It could subvert that allocation in the event the district court declined to tax expenses or substantially reduced them because it thought that there was a very strong argument in favor of this conclusion that the court of appeals had reversed–which, of course, was the district court’s own decision. Simply speaking, the court of appeals’ conclusion that a party is”qualified” to costs would mean small if, since San Antonio considers , the district court might have a second look at the equities.

The Supreme Court was likewise not convinced that applying the plain text of Rule 39 would create the issues that San Antonio increased. “We do not find out why our interpretation will lead to confusion,” Justice Alito wrote. “This interpretation quite sensibly gives national courts at each level chief discretion over costs relating to their own proceedings.”
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Criminal law

Biden Administration Shortens Detention of Migrant Families to 72 Hours

Hoping to prevent the detention of migrant families for weeks or months at a time, the Biden administration plans to release parents and children within 72 hours of their arrival in the United States, a new policy that already is being carried out along the Texas border, reports the New York Times. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will now hold families only for the time required to schedule court dates, conduct COVID-19 tests and arrange for them to be transferred to shelters, where volunteers and aid workers help schedule their travel to join relatives already in the country. Roughly 100 families per day would be processed and released from two existing family residential centers in Texas. Those who test positive for the coronavirus would remain in isolation at a border facility for 10 days. As of Thursday, several dozen migrants traveling as families were being held at a facility in Karnes City, Texas, and more than 300 at another, in Dilley, Texas.

The two detention centers have a combined capacity of 3,200. Erica Schommer, a law professor at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, called the new 72-hour policy a “positive” sign but cautioned that any detentions of children raised concerns because of research showing that children in such conditions suffered long-term damage. By law, the government cannot keep migrant children in holding facilities at the border for more than 72 hours; it must either transfer them to a shelter or release them, and the government is mostly able to comply. The new policy pertains mainly to the detention centers where many of them are sent next; under the Flores agreement, the government must not detain children in any facility for more than 20 days, and that deadline has often been missed in the past. The release of those families to bus stations in communities struggling with the pandemic has prompted a backlash from conservatives and local leaders, who complain that some of the migrants recently arriving in the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus.…

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Criminal law

State Republican Lawmakers Move Against Federal Gun Restrictions

In response to the Biden administration’s push for new federal gun-control laws, Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation in at least a dozen states that seek to nullify any new firearm restrictions, such as ammunition limits or a ban on certain types of weapons, and, in some cases, would even make it a crime for local police officers to enforce federal gun laws, reports the Associated Press. A Missouri measure passed by the state House that would allow police departments with officers who enforce federal gun laws to be sued and face a $50,000 fine and the Utah state House passed a bill with a similar provision forbidding the enforcement of federal gun laws. These laws can create confusion for officers who often work with federal law enforcement, said Daniel Isom, a former chief of the St. Louis Police Department who is now a senior advisor for Everytown for Gun Safety. Federal law plays a big role in some areas, such as keeping guns away from domestic violence offenders.

Most of the latest crop of federal nullification proposals focus on police officers inside their states who primarily enforce state rather than federal laws. Federal nullification bills have been introduced in more than a dozen other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wyoming, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Iowa. In Texas, the governor has called for the state to become a Second Amendment sanctuary. Many Republican state lawmakers see attempts to pass federal firearms restrictions as a threat to the Second Amendment.