FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Criminal

Daily criminal law and procedure case summaries, brought to you by FindLaw.com.

People v. American Surety Co.

(California Court of Appeal) - In a matter involving a bail bond, affirmed the denial of a motion to exonerate the undertaking.
Posted: January 15, 2019, 8:00 am

State Department of State Hospitals v. J.W.

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that California's Sexually Violent Predators Act gives a court authority to involuntarily medicate an incompetent person placed with the State Hospital pre-commitment. Affirmed the trial court's order compelling involuntary administration of antipsychotic medication.
Posted: January 15, 2019, 8:00 am

People v. Marquez

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that it was unconstitutional to collect a drug possession arrestee's DNA sample under the facts here. However, a later DNA sample that he voluntarily provided could be used at his trial for a robbery to which the earlier sample linked him.
Posted: January 15, 2019, 8:00 am

Rainsberger v. Benner

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a police detective did not have qualified immunity from a claim that he used deliberately falsified allegations to demonstrate probable cause. The plaintiff, who had been charged with murder, filed this civil rights lawsuit after the charges against him were dropped.
Posted: January 15, 2019, 8:00 am

Turner v. Baker

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that a Nevada inmate did not need authorization to file a second federal habeas petition because this was his first petition challenging the amended judgment. Transferred the petition to the district court with instructions to consider it as a first habeas petition.
Posted: January 15, 2019, 8:00 am

Stokeling v. US

(United States Supreme Court) - Held that the Armed Career Criminal Act encompasses a robbery offense if an element is the use of force sufficient to overcome a victim's resistance. Under this test, the defendant's conviction of robbery under Florida law qualified as a predicate violent felony for a 15-year mandatory-minimum sentence. Justice Thomas wrote the 5-4 opinion, which distinguished Johnson v. US, 559 U. S. 133 (2010).
Posted: January 15, 2019, 8:00 am

People v. Landers

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversed a $950 sanction imposed on a deputy public defender for violating a reciprocal discovery order by failing to disclose statements taken from a witness. Concluded that there was no discovery violation under the circumstances here.
Posted: January 14, 2019, 8:00 am

People v. Busane

(California Court of Appeal) - Remanded for reevaluation of whether a defendant convicted of sex crimes who spent nearly three years in presentence custody was eligible for presentence conduct credits.
Posted: January 14, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Arellano-Banuelos

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Remanded for further findings as to whether an alien's statements to a federal immigration agent should have been suppressed on grounds that he was not read his Miranda rights. The alien made the damaging admissions during an interview conducted while he was in state prison on other charges.
Posted: January 14, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Depue

(United States Ninth Circuit) - In an en banc opinion, reaffirmed the distinction between waiver and forfeiture of sentencing challenges. Here, the defendant's failure to object to Guidelines calculations at sentencing constituted forfeiture subject to plain error review. However, there was no plain error.
Posted: January 14, 2019, 8:00 am

ODonnell v. Salgado

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Reaffirmed a stay issued in a lawsuit involving a challenge to a Texas county's system for setting bail for indigent misdemeanor arrestees. The original appellants were elected officials who had since been voted out of office, and their successors adopted a different litigation position.
Posted: January 14, 2019, 8:00 am

Hernandez v. Chappell

(United States Ninth Circuit) - In an amended opinion, affirmed that a California inmate convicted of two murders was not entitled to federal habeas relief. He claimed ineffective assistance of counsel.
Posted: January 14, 2019, 8:00 am

Olivier v. Baca

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that a pretrial detainee could not proceed with his claim that he was unconstitutionally denied a bed for three and a half days. His processing into permanent housing had been delayed by exigent circumstances, specifically, inmate fighting and lockdowns. Affirmed summary judgment against his claim.
Posted: January 11, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Hall

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that a supervised-release condition imposed on a man convicted of fraud was unconstitutionally vague. The language was too imprecise in restricting the types of contact he could have with his son, who was convicted of participating in the fraudulent scheme. Reversed in part.
Posted: January 11, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Eaglin

(United States Second Circuit) - Held that a convicted sex offender who was on supervised release should not have been banned from accessing the Internet or viewing adult pornography. The record here did not support the imposition of these sweeping conditions. Reversed and remanded for resentencing.
Posted: January 11, 2019, 8:00 am

People v. Hem

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversed the voluntary manslaughter conviction of a man who fatally shot his brother in alleged self-defense. Held that the trial court did not adequately address the possibility of jury misconduct. Some jurors may have engaged in improper discussions outside of the jury deliberation room.
Posted: January 11, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Landeros

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that law enforcement officers were not permitted to extend a lawfully initiated vehicle stop because a passenger refused to identify himself, absent reasonable suspicion that he had committed a criminal offense. Reversed the denial of a motion to suppress evidence.
Posted: January 11, 2019, 8:00 am

Maier v. Smith

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed the denial of an inmate's petition for habeas corpus relief from his conviction under Wisconsin's stalking statute. The conviction was for sending threatening letters to members of a jury that had convicted him in an earlier prosecution.
Posted: January 11, 2019, 8:00 am

Thomas v. Anderson

(United States Seventh Circuit) - In an amended opinion, reinstated an Illinois inmate's civil rights claim that he was beaten by prison guards and undeservedly disciplined in retaliation for lawsuits and grievances he had filed. Reversed a JMOL and remanded for further proceedings on his retaliation claims.
Posted: January 11, 2019, 8:00 am

Gupta v. US

(United States Second Circuit) - Affirmed the denial of federal habeas relief to a man convicted of securities fraud, in an insider trading case.
Posted: January 11, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Valencia-Mendoza

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Vacated a sentence for unlawfully reentering the U.S. after having been removed, and remanded for resentencing.
Posted: January 10, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Lopez

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that a woman convicted of buying a firearm using false identification should not have been precluded from presenting an expert witness on Battered Woman Syndrome. She contended that a former boyfriend threatened to harm her and her family unless she bought the gun for him. The Ninth Circuit vacated her conviction and remanded for a new trial.
Posted: January 10, 2019, 8:00 am

People v. Munoz

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed a motorist's conviction of second-degree murder for causing a fatal vehicle crash while driving under the influence of alcohol. He contended that the jury should have been instructed on lesser included offenses.
Posted: January 10, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Piper

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed two men's convictions and sentences for drug-trafficking involving methamphetamine.
Posted: January 10, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Bustos

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed the sentence of a defendant who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin.
Posted: January 10, 2019, 8:00 am

People v. Pride

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed a defendant's conviction for committing a gang-related robbery, but remanded so that the trial court could consider whether to strike a serious-felony enhancement.
Posted: January 10, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Klein (Schulman)

(United States Second Circuit) - Affirmed a criminal conviction of securities fraud in a case where the defendant (an attorney) tipped his friend and financial advisor about an upcoming merger in the pharmaceutical industry.
Posted: January 10, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Johnson

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirmed a defendant's conviction and sentence for drug and firearm offenses, in a case where he challenged the denial of his motion to suppress evidence.
Posted: January 9, 2019, 8:00 am

People v. Lopez

(California Court of Appeal) - On rehearing, affirmed a defendant's conviction of second-degree murder and felony hit-and-run driving. He argued, unsuccessfully, that his convictions should be reversed because his counsel's statements during argument were tantamount to a guilty plea.
Posted: January 9, 2019, 8:00 am

Ogunkoya v. Drake

(United States Second Circuit) - Held that two county assistant district attorneys were absolutely immune from claims that they violated a defendant's constitutional rights by failing to timely arraign him on certain charges. Reversed the denial of absolute immunity in this civil rights lawsuit.
Posted: January 9, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Martinez-Hernandez

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirmed two Mexican citizens' convictions for illegal reentry into the United States. They argued, unsuccessfully, that they should never have been deported in the first place because their California robbery convictions were not aggravated felonies.
Posted: January 9, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Torres

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirmed a conviction for possessing a firearm while being an alien unlawfully in the United States. The defendant argued, unsuccessfully, that the federal statute in question violated his Second Amendment rights.
Posted: January 8, 2019, 8:00 am

People v. Duenas

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that it was unconstitutional to require an indigent woman who drove with a suspended license to pay $220 in fees and fines, due to her poverty and inability to afford it. Reversed an order imposing the monetary assessments.
Posted: January 8, 2019, 8:00 am

Shoop v. Hill

(United States Supreme Court) - Held that an Ohio death row inmate should not have been granted habeas relief. His claim that he had an intellectual disability that constitutionally barred him from being executed should have been evaluated based solely on Supreme Court holdings that were clearly established at the relevant time. Because the Sixth Circuit improperly relied on a subsequently decided case, Moore v. Texas (2017) in assessing the intellectual disability issue, the High Court vacated the habeas ruling and remanded in a per curiam opinion.
Posted: January 7, 2019, 8:00 am

City of Escondido, California v. Emmons

(United States Supreme Court) - Held that the Ninth Circuit failed to properly analyze whether two police officers accused of excessive force had qualified immunity. The Court of Appeals should have asked whether clearly established law prohibited the officers from stopping and taking down a man in the circumstances presented, rather than defining the excessive-force issue at a higher level of generality. Vacated and remanded in a per curiam opinion.
Posted: January 7, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Baker

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed the conviction of a former chief executive officer on securities fraud and related charges stemming from a scheme to inflate the sales figures of his publicly traded medical-device company.
Posted: January 7, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Proano

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed a Chicago police officer's conviction of willful deprivation of constitutional rights. While on duty, he fired 16 shots at a moving sedan filled with teenagers in what was found to be an excessive use of force, injuring two of the passengers.
Posted: January 7, 2019, 8:00 am

Savory v. Cannon

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a man who spent 30 years in prison was not time-barred from bringing a civil rights suit against police officers who allegedly framed him. Reversed a dismissal and remanded, in this lawsuit that he brought after receiving a pardon from the governor of Illinois.
Posted: January 7, 2019, 8:00 am

Shabazz v. US

(United States Second Circuit) - Held that a federal inmate was not entitled to habeas relief from a sentence imposed under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). Reversed the decision below, concluding that the inmate's prior Connecticut convictions for robbery qualified as ACCA predicates.
Posted: January 4, 2019, 8:00 am

People v. Chatman

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed a defendant's conviction for pimping and pandering, based on the testimony of a prostitute and other evidence.
Posted: January 4, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Corrigan

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed a chief executive officer's conviction of four counts of wire fraud in connection with the misappropriation of investors' funds.
Posted: January 3, 2019, 8:00 am

Mitchell v. City of Elgin, Illinois

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Revived a community college student's claim that she was wrongfully prosecuted for allegedly making anonymous threats against her instructor (a police officer) in a criminal justice class. Held that she might have a viable Fourth Amendment claim under Manuel v. City of Joliet, 137 S. Ct. 911 (2017).
Posted: January 2, 2019, 8:00 am

State of Illinois v. City of Chicago

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a local Fraternal Order of Police lodge could not intervene in the State of Illinois' lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department over its use-of-force policies and practices. Affirmed that the lodge delayed too long before seeking to intervene, so its motion was untimely.
Posted: January 2, 2019, 8:00 am

Neely-Bey Tarik-El v. Conley

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Revived an Indiana inmate's claim for injunctive relief, but not damages, in a case where he alleged that he was prevented from participating fully in the worship services of the Moorish Science Temple of America. Reversed summary judgment on his Free Exercise Clause claim, in relevant part.
Posted: January 2, 2019, 8:00 am

US v. Hagen

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that, under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, a mother's state law convictions for allowing child truancy should not have counted toward her criminal history score when she later pleaded guilty to a federal drug-trafficking offense. Reversed and remanded for resentencing.
Posted: January 2, 2019, 8:00 am

People v. Meraz

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed murder convictions arising out of a gang-related shooting but remanded for sentencing reasons, on reconsideration following transfer of the case from the California Supreme Court.
Posted: December 27, 2018, 8:00 am

People v. Johnson

(Supreme Court of California) - Affirmed a defendant's death sentence and conviction of two murders, on an automatic appeal.
Posted: December 27, 2018, 8:00 am

People v. Vasquez

(California Court of Appeal) - On rehearing, reversed a second-degree murder conviction in a case where a victim was beaten to death. Held that the trial judge should have instructed the jury on involuntary manslaughter as a lesser-included offense.
Posted: December 27, 2018, 8:00 am

In re B.M.

(Supreme Court of California) - Reversed a teenager's juvenile court conviction for assault with a deadly weapon, in a case where she wielded a butter knife. Clarified what is necessary for an object to qualify as a deadly weapon based on how it was used.
Posted: December 27, 2018, 8:00 am

In re Thomas

(California Court of Appeal) - Denied an inmate's petition for habeas corpus challenging his conviction of active participation in a criminal street gang. He contended that a gang expert's testimony violated the confrontation clause. Held that People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665 is not retroactive.
Posted: December 27, 2018, 8:00 am