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

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's determination, in a precedential decision, that even though petitioner was a lawful permanent resident, she was inadmissible under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(13)(C)(v) and 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I), because she had been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. In this case, the crime was Arizona solicitation to possess marijuana for sale. The BIA rejected petitioner's contention that, by referencing "attempt or conspiracy," section 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) excludes crimes of solicitation even if they otherwise constitute crimes involving moral turpitude. Applying Chevron deference, the panel affirmed the BIA's determination that even though petitioner was a legal permanent resident, she was removable because she was inadmissible to the United States when she presented herself at the border. Furthermore, a conviction in Arizona for solicitation to possess at least four pounds of marijuana for sale constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude for purposes of section 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I), and thus petitioner was inadmissible. The panel rejected petitioner's contention that, by referencing only "attempt or conspiracy," section 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) excluded crimes of solicitation, and the panel saw no reason to deviate from Barragan-Lopez v. Mukasey, 508 F.3d 899 (9th Cir. 2007). View "Gonzalez Romo v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Defendants brought these consolidated appeals seeking to reduce their sentences under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2), which allows a court to reduce in certain circumstances a previously imposed sentence, for drug-related offenses. The Ninth Circuit held that the Supreme Court's decision in Hughes v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 1765 (2018), and this circuit's decision in United States v. Padilla-Diaz, 862 F.3d 856 (9th Cir. 2017), were fully compatible and that Padilla-Diaz, which upheld USSG 1B1.10(b)(2), remains binding precedent. The panel explained that the question considered in Hughes was entirely different from those addressed in Padilla-Diaz. Hughes did not consider at all the import of section 1B1.10(b)(2)(A), the provision limiting sentence reductions to the lowest term recommended by the revised Guidelines range. Furthermore, Hughes did not conclude that general sentencing policies constrain section 3582(c)(2) proceedings, and nothing in Hughes addressed inter-defendant sentencing uniformity more generally, much less the sentence reduction limitation at issue here. Therefore, the panel was bound by Padilla-Diaz's conclusion regarding the interplay between the Guidelines policy statement contained in section 1B1.10(b)(2) and section 3582(c)(2). Accordingly, the panel affirmed the district court's denial of defendants' motions. View "United States v. Hernandez-Martinez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's entry of a personal money judgment against defendant in the amount that corresponds to the proceeds of the offenses for which defendant was convicted. In this case, defendant was convicted of fraudulently obtaining Social Security, Medicaid, and food-stamp benefits. The panel held that its rationale for allowing district courts to impose personal money judgments remained undisturbed by the reasoning in Honeycutt v. United States, 137 S. Ct. 1626 (2017), which held that 21 U.S.C. 853 does not authorize courts to impose joint and several liability for forfeiture judgments. The panel explained that Honeycutt's holding did not address whether personal money judgments are permissible in the criminal forfeiture context. The panel held that such personal money judgments were necessary to avoid undermining Congress' objectives in enacting mandatory forfeiture sanctions, pointing in particular to the substitute property provision found in section 853(p). The panel noted that Honeycutt does require clarification that personal money judgments must be enforced within the constraints imposed by the applicable criminal forfeiture statutes. View "United States v. Nejad" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of an antitrust action brought by a putative class of residential and commercial subscribers to DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket. NFL Sunday Ticket is a bundled package of all NFL games available exclusively to subscribers of DirecTV's satellite television service. Plaintiffs claimed that DirecTV's arrangement harms NFL fans because it eliminates competition in the market for live telecasts of NFL games. The panel held that, at this preliminary stage, plaintiffs have stated a cause of action for a violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act that survives a motion to dismiss. In this case, the complaint adequately alleged that DirecTV conspired with the NFL and the NFL Teams to limit the production of telecasts to one per game, and that plaintiffs suffered antitrust injury due to this conspiracy to limit output. The complaint also alleged that defendants conspired to monopolize the market for professional football telecasts and have monopolized it. View "Ninth Inning, Inc. v. DirecTV" on Justia Law

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The Association filed suit challenging Montana's electioneering disclosure laws on First Amendment grounds. Under Montana law, an organization that makes an expenditure of more than $250 on a single electioneering communication must register as a political committee, subject to certain organizational and disclosure requirements. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Montana except with respect to one provision. Like the disclosure provisions the panel approved in Human Life of Washington Inc. v. Brumsickle, 624 F.3d 990, 1016 (9th Cir. 2010), and Yamada v. Snipes, 786 F.3d 1182 (9th Cir. 2015), the panel held that most of Montana's disclosure and related requirements are substantially related to important governmental interests connected with informing the electorate. However, the panel held that only Montana's requirement that organizations designate a treasurer registered to vote in Montana is constitutionally infirm. In this case, the requirement was not substantially related to any important governmental interest, and was severable from the rest of the disclosure regime. View "National Association for Gun Rights, Inc. v. Mangan" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action alleging claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The panel held that plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), because their section 504 and ADA claims concerned whether the child was provided appropriate education services. In this case, plaintiffs settled their IDEA case without receiving an administrative decision on whether plaintiffs' son needed the placement they now assert was required for him to receive a free and appropriate public education. View "Paul G. v. Monterey Peninsula Unified School District" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of defendant's motion for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2). The panel held that a district court may not sua sponte raise a defendant's waiver of the right to file a section 3582(c)(2) motion. In this case, the government waived defendant's waiver of his right to file a section 3582(c)(2) motion by failing to raise it in the district court, and the district court abused its discretion by raising the waiver sua sponte. View "United States v. Sainz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The term "individual" as used in the Freedom of Information Act's expedited processing provisions does not include an animal as well as a human being. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the USDA in an action brought by the ALDF under FOIA. Determining that the district court had jurisdiction to review the FOIA suit, the panel held that ALDF's action was not moot where ALDF asserted a pattern or practice FOIA claim alleging that the agency's policy or practice would impair ALDF's lawful access to information in the center. The panel also held that, where, as here, "individual" is used as a noun with no corresponding group or category, its plain meaning is "human being." Therefore, the panel rejected ALDF's assertion that the term "individual" in these circumstances included animals. View "Animal Legal Defense Fund v. US Department of Agriculture" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied an application for authorization to file a second or successive 28 U.S.C. 2254 habeas corpus petition. The panel held that the Supreme Court has not made Riley v. California, 573 U.S. 373 (2014), which held that a warrant is generally required to search a cell phone's data, retroactive. Therefore, the applicant has not made a prima facie showing that his application to file a section 2254 petition met the requirements of 18 U.S.C. 2244(b)(2)(A). View "Young v. Pfeiffer" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of an action brought by plaintiff, a Division 1 college football player, alleging that he was an employee of the NCAA and the PAC-12 Conference within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act and California labor law. The panel held that the district court properly concluded that Division I FBS Football Players are not employees of the NCAA or PAC-12 as a matter of federal law. In this case, the economic reality of the relationship between the NCAA/PAC-12 and student-athletes does not reflect an employment relationship. The panel held that, within the analytical framework established by the Supreme Court, the NCAA and PAC-12 are regulatory bodies, not employers of student-athletes under the FLSA. The panel also held that the district court correctly dismissed plaintiff's California law claims for failure to state a claim. Under California law, student-athletes are generally deemed not to be employees of their schools. Furthermore, there was no authority that supported an inference that, even though the student-athletes are not considered to be employees of their schools under California law, the NCAA and PAC-12 can nevertheless be held to be "joint employers" with the students' schools. View "Dawson v. National Collegiate Athletic Association" on Justia Law