Garcia v. Holder, Jr.

Petitioner, a native of the Dominican Republic, petitioned for review of the BIA's decision affirming the denial of her application for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court concluded that substantial evidence supported the IJ's adverse credibility determination based on petitioner's various lies to U.S. officials and to the district court judge, especially about her identity and country of origin, and petitioner's equivocation during her interview with the IJ. The court also concluded that substantial evidence supported the denial of relief under withholding of removal because petitioner could not overcome the adverse credibility determination where the IJ considered the additional corroborating documents presented by petitioner and found them to be insufficient to rehabilitate her testimony that she was a victim of domestic abuse. The court deferred to the IJ and BIA's conclusion that relief under the CAT was unavailable. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Garcia v. Holder, Jr." on Justia Law

In re: Schwartz-Tallard

Debtor sought attorneys' fees incurred in defense of ASC's appeal of the bankruptcy court's determination that ASC had violated the automatic stay. The court concluded that, because debtor was not pursuing a damages award, but rather defending ASC's appeal of a previous finding of stay violation and thereby "remedying the stay violation," Sternberg v. Johnson did not prohibit the awarding of attorneys' fees at issue here. Accordingly, the court affirmed the bankruptcy appellate panel's reversal and remand of the bankruptcy court's decision denying debtor's request for an award of attorneys' fees. View "In re: Schwartz-Tallard" on Justia Law

United States v. Charles

Defendant plead guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of cocaine base . On appeal, defendant challenged the district court's denial of his motion for a reduction of sentence. The court concluded that, because defendant was sentenced before August 3, 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA), Pub. L. No. 111-220, 124 Stat. 2372, did not affect his sentence. The court held that Amendment 750 did not apply to or help defendants who were sentenced as career offenders under U.S.S.G. 4B1.1. Because defendant was sentenced as a career offender under U.S.S.G. 4B1.1, the retroactive amendments to the drug guidelines under U.S.S.G. 2D1.1 did not qualify him for sentence reduction. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Charles" on Justia Law

Meritage Homes of Nevada v. FDIC

This case arose when Meritage submitted an administrative claim to the FDIC. The FDIC disallowed Meritage's administrative claim and Meritage then filed suit. Meritage obtained a default judgment against the FDIC and the FDIC provided Meritage with a receiver's certificate in the amount of the judgment. The FDIC also filed with the district court a Satisfaction of Judgment. Meritage sought to have the district court strike the FDIC's Satisfaction of Judgment and instead direct the FDIC to pay the judgment in cash. Subsequently, on appeal, Meritage challenged the district court's judgment and challenged orders denying its motion to strike or, in the alternative, issue a summons to certain third parties to this action and denying its motion for reconsideration. The court held that the district court's denial of Meritage's request for a summons was to be reviewed for clear error. On the merits, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in ruling that the receiver's certificate satisfied the judgment against the FDIC. The court also held that the district court did not commit clear error in declining to issue a summons to Rescon and Stearns. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Meritage Homes of Nevada v. FDIC" on Justia Law

Yokeno v. Sekiguchi

Plaintiff filed suit against defendants in the Superior Court of Guam, asserting claims arising from alleged breach of fiduciary duty in the course of the parties' several business ventures. Defendants removed to the District Court of Guam based on diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiff is an alien admitted to the United States for permanent residence, living in Guam. Defendant Lai, a British Overseas Citizen, and Defendant Sekiguchi, a Japanese citizen, both live in Japan. The district court granted summary judgment on the merits in favor of defendants and plaintiff appealed, contesting subject matter jurisdiction for the first time. Whether or not Congress intended to confer jurisdiction in cases like this one by supplying constitutionally required minimal diversity through deemed citizenship, the deeming clause purported to do so. The court concluded, however, that the Organic Act of Guam, 48 U.S.C. 1421-1421k-1, precluded it from deciding the merits of the dispute between aliens because it conferred diversity jurisdiction upon the District Court of Guam reaching only as far as the diversity jurisdiction afforded to Article III courts. Because the Constitution does not supply diversity jurisdiction to Article III courts in suits between aliens, the jurisdiction afforded the federal court in Guam must also be so limited. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded, concluding that both the court and the District Court of Guam lacked jurisdiction to decide this dispute exclusively between aliens. View "Yokeno v. Sekiguchi" on Justia Law

Gallardo v. United States

Plaintiff filed suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. 2671 et seq., alleging sexual assault committed by a sergeant of the Corps while he was on recruitment detail at her middle school. The court concluded that plaintiff's claim accrued when she became aware of her injury and its immediate cause, not when she learned of the Corps' negligence. Because plaintiff did not file her administrative claim until four years later, the FTCA's two-year statute of limitations, absent tolling, had run. When the district court dismissed plaintiff's claim, equitable tolling was not available under the FTCA. During plaintiff's appeal, the court held in Wong v. Beebe, that equitable tolling of the statute of limitations was available in FTCA actions. The court held that Wong's conclusion that section 2401(b) was nonjurisdictional and subject to equitable tolling applied to the entirety of that subsection. Therefore, the court vacated the district court's decision and remanded for the district court to consider plaintiff's equitable tolling argument. View "Gallardo v. United States" on Justia Law

Jackson v. Barnes, et al.

Plaintiff was convicted at his first trial of first degree murder in which the prosecutor relied on evidence obtained in violation of his Miranda rights, and after the conviction was reversed he was again convicted, this time without the use of the illegally obtained evidence. Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for damages as result of his conviction for first degree murder in violation of his Fifth Amendment rights. The court held that plaintiff's section 1983 claim against Sheriff Barnes for the Fifth Amendment violation was not barred by Heck v. Humphrey. Under Heck and Trimble v. City of Santa Rosa, plaintiff's Fifth Amendment claim was not time-barred, and plaintiff may be able to show that he is entitled to damages, especially nominal damages, for the Miranda violation. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of that claim. The court held that plaintiff properly pleaded a claim of Monell liability against the Sheriff's Department, and that the Sheriff's Department was subject to suit under section 1983 for its investigative activities. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of this claim. Finally, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim against the District Attorney's Office, but instructed it to grant plaintiff leave to amend his complaint to state a claim against District Attorney Murphy. View "Jackson v. Barnes, et al." on Justia Law

Jin v. Holder

Petitioner, a native and citizen of China, sought review of the BIA's order dismissing his appeal of an IJ's denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court concluded that substantial evidence supported the agency's reasonable determination that petitioner was not credible under the totality of the circumstances: petitioner's non-responsive demeanor during cross-examination; affirmative misrepresentations of his residence for the purpose of gaining an advantage in forum; submission of a fraudulent church membership certification for the purpose of gaining an advantage in forum; and lack of detailed testimony. Accordingly, the court concluded that the agency properly denied asylum and withholding claims. The court denied the petition for review. View "Jin v. Holder" on Justia Law

United States v. Gillenwater, II

Defendant was charged with two counts of transmitting threatening interstate communications and one count of transmitting threatening communications by United States mail. The district court determined that defendant was not competent to stand trial and authorized the government to medicate him involuntarily to render him competent to face the charges against him. The court could not conclude that the district court clearly erred in determining that involuntary medication was in defendant's best medical interest when the potential harms and benefits of the treatment were viewed against the seriousness of his condition. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's involuntary medication order and dismissed as moot defendant's appeal of the district court's involuntary medication order. View "United States v. Gillenwater, II" on Justia Law

United States v. Villalobos

Defendant, an attorney, appealed his conviction for attempted extortion and endeavoring to obstruct justice. The court concluded that where a nonviolent threat to obtain property was not, by its nature, inherently wrongful, a court must first consider whether the threat, as actually used in the case at issue (the "means"), is wrongful, without regard to the property demanded by the defendant (the "ends"). The court concluded that, although the district court's instruction was erroneous because it essentially read the "wrongful" element out of the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. 1951(b)(2), the error was harmless. Because defendant's threats were wrongful under the Hobbs Act, the court need not reach the question whether a claim of right defense was available in this context. Even if available, such a claim would do nothing to shield defendant from conviction of attempted extortion. Accordingly, the district court did not err by not providing a claim of right instruction. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Villalobos" on Justia Law