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Eleventh Circuit Grants Habeas Hearing in Judicial Bias Case

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has reversed a district court and ruled that an evidentiary hearing is required when a criminal defendant has sufficiently alleged actual bias on the part of a trial judge. Harrison Norris, Jr., who is black, was convicted of 24 counts of forced prostitution of several

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Fifth Circuit Vacates Child Pornography Sentence

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has vacated and remanded the sentence of a convicted child pornographer. Jason Daniel Scott pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography and was sentenced to 108 months of imprisonment and lifetime supervised release. As part of his supervision, Scott was not allowed to

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Federal Appeals Court Says Police Can Lie to Search Homes

  A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit, the Atlanta-based federal appeals court, in U.S. v. Eric Jermaine Spivey et al. upheld a police search defendants had challenged as “shocking,” even if police used deception to obtain the residents’ consent to search their home. Eric Spivey and Chenequa Austin lived in Lauderhill, Florida, and ran

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Verdict Reversed in Excessive Force Case

By Christopher Zoukis The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has reversed a jury verdict in favor of two police officers who allegedly battered and unlawfully arrested a woman for filming their arrest of a juvenile. The incident took place March 8, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Makia Smith testified at trial that

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Federal Prison Guard’s Conviction for Killing Co-Worker Upheld

By Chris Zoukis The murder conviction of a former prison guard at the Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc for shooting a co-worker in a drug-fueled incident in 2012 was recently upheld by the California Court of Appeals. Timothy Sean McNally, then employed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, was tried and convicted in Santa Barbara County

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When is sexual abuse not sexual abuse? When it happens to a prisoner.

This past week saw the handing down of an important ruling in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the rights of prisoners; specifically a prisoner’s right not to be sexually abused by prison officials. If you’re questioning how this could even have been a question before the Supreme Court, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

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Second Circuit: RLUIPA Disallows Individual Capacity Suits

By David M. Reutter The Second Circuit Court of Appeals held in September 2013 that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) does not create a private right of action against state officials in their individual capacities. Anthony Washington, incarcerated at New York’s Woodbourne Correctional Facility, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983

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