Justia U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

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After the Party failed to meet the deadline for recognition as an official political party on the 2014 Arizona ballot, it challenges the constitutionality of Arizona’s filing deadline for new party petitions, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The Party claims that by requiring "new" parties to file recognition petitions 180 days before the primary, Arizona unconstitutionally burdens those parties’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The court concluded that, without evidence of the specific obstacles to ballot access that the deadline imposes, the Party did not establish that its rights are severely burdened. Moreover, the court concluded that, at best, any burden is de minimus. Finally, after the court balanced the impact of the 180-day filing deadline on the Party's rights against Arizona's interests - administering orderly elections - in maintaining that deadline, the court concluded that the Party has not demonstrated an unconstitutional interference with ballot access. View "Arizona Green Party v. Reagan" on Justia Law

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United Cook filed suit challenging Amendment 12, which removed three historic net fishing areas from the Salmon fishery management plan (FMP), and its implementing regulations as contrary to the Magnuson-Stevens Act's requirement that a Council prepare an FMP “for each fishery under its authority that requires conservation and management,” 16 U.S.C. 1852(h)(1). United Cook also alleged that Amendment 12 was arbitrary and capricious and contrary to the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C). At issue on appeal is whether NMFS can exempt a fishery under its authority that requires conservation and management from an FMP because the agency is content with State management. The court concluded that the Magnuson-Stevens Act unambiguously requires a Council to create an FMP for each fishery under its authority that requires conservation and management. The Act allows delegation to a state under an FMP, but does not excuse the obligation to adopt an FMP when a Council opts for state management. Therefore, the court concluded that Amendment 12 is contrary to law to the extent it removes Cook Inlet from the FMP. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with instructions that judgment be entered in favor of United Cook. View "United Cook Inlet Drift Ass'n. V. NMFS" on Justia Law
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Petitioner, a native of Indonesia, seeks review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's order of removal based on its determination that although petitioner otherwise qualified for withholding of removal, he was barred from relief due to his material support of a terrorist organization. The court agreed with the BIA that petitioner's late asylum filing is not excused because new evidence confirming what petitioner already knew - that moderate Muslims may face violent repression in Indonesia - does not constitute changed circumstances. The court applied the same burden-of-proof framework that it applied in the context of the persecutor bar. The court required a threshold showing of particularized evidence of the bar’s applicability before placing on the applicant the burden to rebut it. The court concluded, here, that the BIA erred in concluding that petitioner was barred from withholding of removal due to his material support of a terrorist organization. In this case, the court determined that the IJ failed to make the requisite factual findings to support his conclusion that the Jemaah Muslim Attaqwa was a terrorist organization. Therefore, the court granted the petition for review, reversed the order of removal, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Budiono v. Lynch" on Justia Law
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The government appealed the district court's grant of defendant's motion to dismiss evidence of the crack cocaine in his pockets and the firearm in his vehicle. The court concluded that, based on the totality of the circumstances surrounding the stop, the officers had reasonable suspicion to briefly detain defendant and the district court erred in concluding otherwise; the officers had probable cause to arrest defendant and performed a valid search incident to arrest of defendant's person - which lawfully extended to the insides of defendant's pockets - after apprehending defendant for obstruction under Nevada Revised Statute 171.123; the court rejected defendant's contention that the government waived its argument that the officers had probable cause to arrest him for violating the Nevada statute; the government, having advanced its probable cause theory before the district court, is able to make a more precise argument on appeal as to why the officers had probable cause; and, in this case, the officers had probable cause to believe that evidence of contraband would be found in defendant's vehicle. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Williams" on Justia Law
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Appellees are immigrant minors, aged three to seventeen, who have been placed in administrative removal proceedings. The children, suing on behalf of themselves and a class, claim a due process and statutory right to appointed counsel at government expense in immigration proceedings. The government filed this interlocutory appeal, challenging the district court’s determination that it had jurisdiction over the constitutional claims. The minors cross-appealed, disputing, among other issues, the district court’s dismissal of the statutory claims. The court concluded that 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(5) and 1252(b)(9) channel review of all claims, including policies-and-practices challenges, through the petition for review (PFR) process whenever they “arise from” removal proceedings. Because the children’s right-to-counsel claims arise from their removal proceedings, they can only raise those claims through the PFR process. The court also concluded that the minors have not been denied all forms of meaningful judicial review. Accordingly, the district court lacks jurisdiction over the minors' claims. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the statutory claims and reversed the district court's determination that it has jurisdiction over the constitutional claims. View "J.E. F.M. V. Lynch" on Justia Law
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After Osvaldo Villarreal, a police officer in Tustin, California, fatally shot Benny Herrera during an attempted investigatory stop, relatives of Herrera filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against Officer Villarreal and the City of Tustin, alleging that the officer used excessive force against Herrera. The district court denied Officer Villareal's motion for summary judgment. The court concluded that the government's interests were insufficient to justify the use of deadly force where the crime at issue was a domestic dispute that had ended before the police became involved, Herrera did not pose an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and Officer Villarreal escalated to deadly force very quickly. Based on the totality of circumstances, and balancing the interests of the two sides, the court concluded that the intrusion on Herrera’s interests substantially outweighed any interest in using deadly force. Therefore, Officer Villarreal’s fatal shooting of Herrera violated the Fourth Amendment. The court further concluded that the officer violated clearly established Fourth Amendment law when he shot and killed Herrera. Accordingly, the court affirmed and remanded for further proceedings. View "A. K. H. V. City of Tustin" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his conviction for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1). At both his first trial and his subsequent re-trial, defendant testified that before being stopped at a checkpoint, he had given a ride to three teenagers he did not know as a favor to his cousin’s husband, Christian Rios Campos. Rios was a known drug smuggler who recruited juveniles, and defendant's primary defense was that the teenagers had planted the drugs in the car without his knowledge. On appeal, defendant argued, inter alia, that the district court abused its discretion by denying his pretrial motion for discovery relating to the constitutionality of the San Clemente checkpoint, and the district court abused its discretion by denying his motion for discovery on Rios’s drug smuggling operation. The court agreed with defendant that the district court abused its discretion in denying discovery that could have revealed an unconstitutional seizure and led to the suppression of the evidence that illicit drugs were found in defendant's car. In this case, whether the primary purpose of the checkpoint has evolved from controlling immigration to detecting“ordinary criminal wrongdoing,” is a question that is subject to discovery under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16(a)(1)(E). Therefore, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings on this issue. The court also reversed the district court’s denial of discovery of the government’s investigation into Rios’s drug smuggling operation. After reviewing documents submitted by the government, the court disagreed both with the district court’s characterization of the documents and with its application of the law. Therefore, the court reversed the denial of defendant's discovery motion, vacated the conviction, and remanded with instructions to grant the motion. Finally, the court affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress; rejected defendant's challenge to a jury instruction; and concluded that defendant's knowledge of the type and quantity of the drugs found in his car is not an element under 21 U.S.C. 841. View "United States v. Soto-Zuniga" on Justia Law
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The Union filed suit against Aviation Safeguards for violations of the Railway Labor Act (RLA), 45 U.S.C. 151–165. The district court granted Aviation Safeguards’s motion for summary judgment and denied the Union’s cross-motion for summary judgment. The court held that equitable tolling principles apply to the Union’s unlawful interference and coercion claim; remanded and directed the district court to grant summary judgment for the Union on its claim for unlawful interference and coercion under RLA 152, Third and Fourth; held that the district court erred in finding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the Union’s status quo claim under RLA 152, Seventh, 155, and 156; remanded this claim for the limited purpose of determining whether this claim is timely and, if the claim is timely, the court directed the district court to grant summary judgment in favor of the Union on its status quo claim; held that Aviation Safeguards unlawfully refused to mediate; and remanded and directed the district court to grant summary judgment in favor of the Union on its failure to mediate claim under RLA 152. View "Herrera v. Command Security" on Justia Law

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In 2012, the Wood plaintiffs, who were recipients of health coverage under Arizona's Medicaid demonstration project, filed suit against the Secretary challenging her approval of a new Arizona project that raised copayments for medical visits and medications and that permitted healthcare providers to refuse non-emergency services based on an inability to pay. At issue on appeal is whether the members of the class action were the prevailing parties for purposes of attorneys’ fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. 2412. The court applied the factors in Buckhannon Bd. & Care Home, Inc. v. W. Va. Dep’t of Health & Human Res., holding that under the EAJA, the Wood plaintiffs are the prevailing party in their procedural Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 706(2)(A), challenge against the Secretary. The court noted that the dispositive question is not whether the plaintiff ultimately obtained some form of substantive relief, but rather whether there is a lasting alteration in the legal relationship between the parties. The court concluded that there was a material alteration in the legal relationship of the parties, to the benefit of the Wood plaintiffs. Finally, the court concluded that the retention of jurisdiction for practical and equitable reasons did not undermine the reality that the Wood plaintiffs were a prevailing party. Therefore, the court reversed and remanded to the district court to consider whether the government’s position was “substantially justified” under the EAJA. View "Wood v. Burwell" on Justia Law

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Petitioner seeks review of the BIA's decision dismissing his appeal of the IJ's denial of his application for cancellation of removal under 8 U.S.C. 1229b(a). The court applied Medina-Nunez v. Lynch and In re Reza-Murillo, holding that the BIA properly concluded that petitioner was not “admitted in any status” for purposes of cancellation of removal when he was listed as a derivative beneficiary on his mother’s asylum and Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), Title II of Pub.L. 105-100, applications and received work authorization in the United States under 8 C.F.R. 274a.12(c). Accordingly, the court dismissed the petition in part because it lacked jurisdiction over petitioner's contention that he was "admitted in any status" and denied it in part. View "Fuentes v. Lynch" on Justia Law
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