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In the wake of the 2014 amendments to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12, the good-cause standard in Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(c)(3), rather than plain error review, continues to apply when a defendant attempts to raise new theories on appeal in support of a motion to suppress. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress a gun and ammunition found during a traffic stop. The panel held that defendant did not show good cause for failing to present in his pretrial motion the new theory he raised for suppression in this appeal, nor has he challenged the district court's rejection of the one theory that he did raise. View "United States v. Guerrero" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The United States challenged California's enactment of three laws expressly designed to protect its residents from federal immigration enforcement: AB 450, which requires employers to alert employees before federal immigration inspections; AB 103, which imposes inspection requirements on facilities that house civil immigration detainees; and SB 54, which limits the cooperation between state and local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it concluded that AB 450's employee-notice provisions neither burden the federal government nor conflict with federal activities, and that any obstruction caused by SB 54 is consistent with California's prerogatives under the Tenth Amendment and the anticommandeering rule. Therefore, the panel affirmed the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction as to these laws. The panel also affirmed the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction as to those provisions of AB 103 that duplicate inspection requirements otherwise mandated under California law. However, the panel held that one subsection of AB 103—codified at California Government Code section 12532(b)(1)(C)—discriminates against and impermissibly burdens the federal government, and so is unlawful under the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity. Therefore, the panel reversed the preliminary injunction order as to this part and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. California" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's award of attorneys' fees to plaintiff and remanded for further proceedings. The district court exercised its common law authority to award the fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), but the district court did not have the benefit of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger, 137 S. Ct. 1178 (2017), when it issued the award. The panel held that it could not determine whether the district court's failure to apply the appropriate legal framework was harmless. On remand, the panel instructed that Goodyear's causation standard requires the district court to identify those expenses that plaintiffs would not have incurred but for the specific conduct that abused the judicial process, or to determine that the government's misconduct so permeated all or a portion of the suit that "all fees in the litigation, or a phase of it, meet the applicable test: They would not have been incurred except for the misconduct." View "Xue Lu v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of habeas relief as to the penalty phase, because petitioner's counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not investigating and presenting mitigating evidence at the penalty phase. Applying de novo review, the panel held that counsel did not properly investigate petitioner's background, and thus the trial court at the penalty phase was not presented with substantial mitigation evidence regarding petitioner's education and incarceration, his diffuse brain damage, and his history of substance abuse. The panel held that this raised a reasonable probability that, had the trial court been presented with the mitigation evidence in the first instance, the outcome would have been different. In this case, petitioner may have been spared the death penalty and been imprisoned for life instead. Accordingly, the panel remanded with instructions to grant relief against the death penalty. View "Washington v. Ryan" on Justia Law

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To be "final" for purposes of 33 U.S.C. 921(d), an order must at a minimum specify the amount of compensation due or provide a means of calculating the correct amount without resort to extra-record facts. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's action against Vortex, seeking enforcement of a Department of Labor order requiring payment of plaintiff's future medical expenses under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. The panel held that the district court correctly found that it lacked jurisdiction over plaintiff's section 921(d) enforcement claim. In this case, the ALJ's order stated that Vortex must pay or reimburse plaintiff, but did not list an amount to be paid or a means of calculating what Vortex owed. The panel also held that the district court correctly rejected plaintiff's Medicare Secondary Payer Act claim as premature. View "Grimm v. Vortex Marine Construction" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed a jury verdict finding that he vicariously and contributorily infringed Erickson's copyrighted images by displaying them on his website and did so willfully. This case arose when defendant hired a website developer, Only Websites, to redevelop defendant's company website and three photos taken by Erickson were incorporated on the company site. The panel vacated the jury's vicarious liability verdict because Erickson presented no evidence that could constitute a direct financial benefit as a matter of law. However, the panel affirmed the jury's contributory liability verdict and upheld the judgment against defendant, because the district court did not plainly err in instructing the jury that "knowledge" for contributory infringement purposes includes having a "reason to know" of the infringement. Finally, the panel vacated the jury's willfulness finding and remanded for a determination of whether defendant's infringement was willful on the existing record. View "Erickson Productions, Inc. v. Kast" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's judgment in favor of taxpayers in their tax refund action. The panel held that the district court lacked the authority to hear this action because, as a prerequisite to bringing this action, taxpayers first had to file a timely claim for a refund with the IRS. The panel held that Treasury Regulation 301.7502-1(e)(2) provided the exclusive means to prove delivery, and recourse to the common law mailbox rule was no longer available. In this case, taxpayers relied on the common law mailbox rule to establish that the document was presumptively delivered to the IRS. Accordingly, the panel remanded with instructions to dismiss because taxpayers had not filed a timely claim for a refund with the IRS. The panel also reversed the award of litigation costs to taxpayers because they were no longer the prevailing party. View "Baldwin v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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Plaintiffs, operators of a gas purification plant, filed suit against its insurer, Ace, after the insurer denied coverage for damage caused by broken metal brackets that secured crucial components. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's application of Washington law and its discovery sanctions against plaintiffs. However, the panel reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurer and held that there was a triable issue of fact as to whether the insurer was prejudiced by plaintiffs' remedial actions, whether plaintiffs' loss was fortuitous, whether the policy's Boiler and Machinery endorsement applied to independently confer coverage for plaintiffs' losses, whether the Endorsement's "accident" coverage applied, and whether a 16 month shutdown was consistent with the exercise of due diligence and dispatch. View "Ingenco Holdings, LLC v. ACE American Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for knowingly engaging in sexual contact with another person without that other person's permission on an international flight. The panel rejected defendant's contention that the government was also required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he subjectively knew that his victim did not consent. The panel explained that unwanted sexual contact of the type defendant engaged in -- touching first, and arguing later that he "thought" the victim consented -- was precisely what 18 U.S.C. 2244(b) criminalizes. The panel also concluded that defendant was properly Mirandized and that the district court acted within its discretion in refusing to read back to the jury portions of the victim's testimony. View "United States v. Price" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed defendant's conviction for assaulting a fellow passenger on a commercial flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, holding that venue was not proper in the Central District of California. The court held that any erroneous application of the Speedy Trial Act would not have changed the outcome and that defendant did not waive her venue argument by failing to raise it until after the government's case-in-chief. Because the parties did not dispute that the assault ended before the flight entered the airspace of the Central District of California, the panel held that venue in the district court was improper. In this case, there was no doubt that the assault occurred before the flight entered the Central District's airspace. The panel held that the first paragraph of 18 U.S.C. 3237(a) and the second paragraph of section 3237(a) did not confer venue. Furthermore, 18 U.S.C. 3238 did not confer venue. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Lozoya" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law