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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of an IJ's decision affirming an asylum officer's negative reasonable fear determination in reinstatement removal proceedings. Petitioner asserted that he was deprived his due process rights and a fair hearing before the asylum officer, because he was provided a Spanish-language interpreter rather than an interpreter in his native language Chuj. The panel rejected this claim and held that petitioner had indicated he understood "a lot" of Spanish and consented to proceeding in Spanish. Furthermore, petitioner had an opportunity to correct any errors or submit additional evidence on review. The panel also rejected petitioner's due process claims related to his reasonable fear review hearing. However, the panel granted the petition for review of the IJ's decision rejecting for lack of jurisdiction petitioner's motion to reopen reasonable fear proceedings. In this case, the IJ abused its discretion when he failed to recognize that he had at least sua sponte jurisdiction to reopen proceedings. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Bartolome v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Washington's accomplice liability statute renders its drug trafficking law broader than generic federal drug trafficking laws under the Armed Career Criminal Act, and thus Washington's drug trafficking law is not categorically a "serious drug offense" under the Act. The Ninth Circuit vacated defendant's sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm and remanded for resentencing. The panel held that defendant's three convictions under Washington law could not constitute "serious drug offenses," and therefore he was not subject to the Act's fifteen year mandatory minimum sentence. View "United States v. Franklin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Excessive force under the Eighth Amendment does not require proof that an officer enjoyed or otherwise derived pleasure from his or her use of force. In this case, plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging claims against the Snake River Correctional Institute's officials and corrections officers for, among other things, excessive force and deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendant and remanded for a new trial. The panel held that the district court's instructions that plaintiff had to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his alleged abuser had or derived pleasure from extreme cruelty while beating plaintiff was plainly erroneous. Furthermore, these erroneous instructions prejudiced plaintiff. The panel also vacated the district court's sua sponte grant of summary judgment to defendants on plaintiff's deprivation-of-property claim after determining that plaintiff, who was proceeding pro se at the time, failed to receive sufficient notice that the claim was at issue on summary judgment. View "Hoard v. Hartman" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's decertification of two related collective actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by LAPD officers, alleging a pervasive, unwritten policy discouraging the reporting of overtime. The panel held that the officers can appeal a decertification order when they were dismissed from the collective action before final judgment and without prejudice to their individual FLSA claims. The panel held that opt-in plaintiffs are parties to the collective action, and an order of decertification and dismissal disposes of their statutory right to proceed collectively. Therefore, they have standing to appeal and may do so after the interlocutory decertification order to which they are adverse merges with final judgment. The panel also held that the collective actions in this case were properly decertified and the officers properly dismissed for failure to satisfy the "similarly situated" requirement of the FLSA. The panel's de novo review of the record demonstrated that the officers failed, as a matter of law, to create a triable question of fact regarding the existence of a Department-wide policy or practice. View "Campbell v. City of Los Angeles" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's preliminary injunction preventing implementation of California Senate Bill 84, which requires railroads to collect fees from customers shipping certain hazardous materials and then to remit those fees to California. The district court held that the railroads were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims. The panel agreed and held that SB 84 was preempted under the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act because it had a direct effect on rail transportation, and it was not protected from preemption by the Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act because the fees authorized by SB 84 were not "fair." The panel also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in evaluating irreparable harm, the balance of the equities, and the public interest. View "BNSF Railway Co. v. California Department of Tax and Fee Administration" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for conspiracy to manufacture, possess, and distribute marijuana, as well as other charges related to his ownership of a marijuana dispensary in California. The panel held that defendant suffered no wrongful impairment of his entrapment by estoppel defense, the anti-nullification warning was not coercive, and the district court's evidentiary rulings were correct in light of the purposes for which the evidence was tendered. The panel remanded for resentencing on the government's cross-appeal of the district court's refusal to apply a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, which unavoidably applied to defendant. The panel need not reach the question of whether an appropriations provision, which the panel interpreted as prohibiting the federal prosecution of persons for activities compliant with state medical marijuana laws, operates to annul a properly obtained conviction, however, because a genuine dispute exists as to whether defendant's activities were actually legal under California state law. The panel remanded for the district court to make findings regarding whether defendant complied with state law. View "United States v. Lynch" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. In this case, defendant's sentence was imposed in 2000 under the then-mandatory Sentencing Guidelines, based in part on the district court's conclusion that he had previously been convicted of crimes of violence. The panel held that the motion was untimely under 28 U.S.C. 2255(f)(3), which authorizes filing within one year of "the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review." Although defendant argued that the Supreme Court recognized a new right in Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), the Supreme Court has not yet recognized such a right. Because the Supreme has not held that the mandatory Sentencing Guidelines are subject to this vagueness challenge, defendant's motion was not timely under the statute. The panel also denied a similar challenge by defendant to a conviction and sentence for use of a firearm during a crime of violence because the Supreme Court has not recognized that right. View "United States v. Blackstone" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The DNC and others filed suit against the state of Arizona, challenging two state election practices: (1) Arizona's longstanding requirement that in-person voters cast their ballots in their assigned precinct, which Arizona enforces by not counting ballots cast in the wrong precinct (OOP policy), and (2) H.B. 2023, a recent legislative enactment which precludes most third parties from collecting early ballots from voters. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment and held that the district court did not err in holding that H.B. 2023 and the OOP policy did not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments because they imposed only a minimal burden on voters and were adequately designed to serve Arizona's important regulatory interests; the district court did not err in holding that H.B. 2023 and the OOP policy did not violate section 2 of the Voting Rights Act; DNC failed to show that minority voters were deprived of an equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect candidates of their choice; and the district court did not err in holding that H.B. 2023 did not violate the Fifteenth Amendment because plaintiffs failed to carry their burden of showing that H.B. 2023 was enacted with discriminatory intent. View "The Democratic National Committee v. Reagan" on Justia Law

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Oregon's restrictions on the use of motorized mining equipment in rivers and streams containing essential salmon habitat, adopted into law as Senate Bill 3, were not preempted by federal law. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the state, and held, assuming without deciding that federal law preempts the extension of state land use plans onto unpatented mining claims on federal lands, Senate Bill 3 was not preempted because it constituted an environmental regulation, not a state land use planning law. Moreover, Senate Bill 3 did not stand as an obstacle to the accomplishment of the full purposes and objectives of Congress. View "Bohmker v. Oregon" on Justia Law

Posted in: Environmental Law

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California Attorney General's Form 990 Schedule B requirement, which obligates charities to submit the very information they already file each year with the IRS, survived exacting scrutiny as applied to plaintiffs because it was substantially related to an important state interest in policing charitable fraud. The Ninth Circuit held that, even assuming arguendo that plaintiffs' contributors would face substantial harassment if Schedule B information became public, the strength of the state's interest in collecting Schedule B information reflected the actual burden on First Amendment rights because the information was collected solely for nonpublic use, and the risk of inadvertent public disclosure was slight. Accordingly, the panel vacated the district court's permanent injunctions, reversed the bench trial judgments, and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of the California Attorney General. View "Americans for Prosperity v. Becerra" on Justia Law