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Jan 16, 2020

Civil Practice – Air Force enjoined from discharging HIV-positive servicemembers

Where the servicemembers were likely to show the government’s policy and conduct violated the Administrative Procedure Act and that they would suffer irreparable harm without a preliminary injunction while they challenged their discharge and that injunctive relief was in the public interest, the preliminary injunction order was affirmed. Background Richard Roe and Victor Voe are […]

Jan 16, 2020

Criminal – Guilty plea vacated due to magistrate judge’s error

Where the magistrate judge failed to advise the defendant of his potential exposure to a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence by pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon, and the defendant demonstrated there was a “reasonable probability” he would not have otherwise entered the plea, a majority of the en banc court vacated the plea. […]

Jan 16, 2020

Criminal – No immediate appeal of denial of self-representation bid

In a case of first impression, where a defendant’s motion to represent himself in his criminal trial for child pornography was denied, the collateral order doctrine does not provide means for immediate appellate review and there is no subject-matter jurisdiction. Background Christopher Sueiro awaits trial on four federal child pornography charges. Throughout over a year […]

Jan 16, 2020

Criminal – Identity theft statute includes deceased victims

In a case of first impression, the term “another person” in the federal aggravated identity theft statute was held to include deceased victims of identity theft, based on the plain language of the statute, its context and legislative history. Background The case before us presents a question of first impression for this court: whether the […]

Jan 16, 2020

Criminal – Brady material would not have changed trial’s outcome

Where the state failed to turn over Brady materials and the state court appeared to apply an incorrect standard when reviewing a petitioner’s post-conviction application, there was another ground sufficient to sustain the decision to deny his application. In addition, the state court’s balancing of the cumulative evidence was not unreasonable. Background Ronnie Wallace Long is […]

Jan 16, 2020

Administrative – Board erred in awarding permit for Union Hill compressor station

Where the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board failed to provide a rational explanation as to why it awarded a construction permit for a compressor station in the historic community of Union Hill, reasons offered during litigation were insufficient as a matter of law. Further, the agency erred by not assessing the station’s potential for disproportionate health […]

Jan 9, 2020

Criminal – Police had reasonable suspicion to detain defendant

Where a law enforcement officer knew there was a warrant for someone named “Lewis,” knew the defendant was known as “Lewis” and the defendant fled when he was told about the warrant, the officer had reasonable suspicion to detain him. Curtilage argument Before the district court, appellant asserted there was a lack of reasonable suspicion to […]

Jan 9, 2020

Criminal – Upward sentence departure of 143 months found unreasonable

A defendant who pleaded guilty to arson and was convicted of making a false statement to influence a bank loan is entitled to resentencing because the district court failed to identify an aggravating circumstance not accounted for by the sentencing guidelines when imposing a 240-month sentence, which represented a 143-month upward departure from the guidelines. […]

Jan 9, 2020

Civil Practice – Blind man lacked standing to bring ADA suit

Where the plaintiff, who is blind, is not a current or former member of the Department of Labor and could never have become eligible to join the Department of Labor Federal Credit Union, he lacked standing to challenge the Credit Union website’s alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Background The Department of Labor […]

Jan 9, 2020

Contract – Contractor prevails in suit over FBI facility

Where an agreement barred claims brought by a subcontractor for damages arising out of the construction of an FBI facility in West Virginia, and the subcontractor waived other arguments by not raising them in district court, the contractor prevailed. Background The FBI entered into a contract with Turner Construction Company to build a facility in […]

Jan 2, 2020

Criminal – Failure to address mitigating factors results in resentencing

Where a court failed to consider several mitigating factors that would have placed a defendant in a drug case to within the recommended Sentencing Guideline range of 60 months, and instead departed upward to impose 120 months, the error was deemed not harmless and the case was remanded for resentencing. Background Lewis Alexander Hines pleaded […]

Jan 2, 2020

Constitutional – Immunity granted in suit brought by prisoner on autism spectrum

Where a prisoner on the autism spectrum was placed in solitary confinement without stimulation for extended periods of time in 2014 and 2015, prison officials were entitled to immunity against his suit because the law holding that the prison’s practice violates the Eighth Amendment was not clearly established at the time of his confinement. Background […]

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