Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant's petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-217, holding that the petition did not state a cognizable ground for relief.Appellant pled no contest to attempted first degree sexual assault and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Appellant later filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging that his conviction and sentence were void. The district court dismissed the action without prejudice pursuant to section 25-217. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court erred when it dismissed the habeas petition pursuant to section 25-217 because section 25-217 has no application to habeas corpus proceedings; and (2) upon de novo review, it was proper to dismiss the petition for writ of habeas corpus because none of the allegations in the petition set forth facts which, if true, would entitle Appellant to habeas relief. View "Childs v. Frakes" on Justia Law

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Respondent has long struggled with mental illness and a proclivity to violent outbursts. In 2017, Williams assaulted a security guard in Portland, Oregon—a federal crime because it happened at a Social Security office. Respondent pleaded guilty and was sentenced to just over four years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Federal prisoners on the cusp of being released may be civilly committed if they are “presently suffering from a mental disease or defect as a result of which [their] release would create a substantial risk” to the person or property of others. Here, the primary question is whether—in making such a risk assessment—a court must consider any terms of supervision that would govern the prisoner’s conduct post-release.   The Fourth Circuit held that a court must consider any terms of supervision that would govern the prisoner’s conduct post-release. Thus, because the record offers no assurances the district court appropriately considered the terms of Respondent’s supervised release before ordering him committed, the Fourth Circuit vacated the district court’s order and remanded for further proceedings. View "US v. Nathaniel Williams" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court dismissed Appellant's appeal from a judgment of a single justice of the court denying his petition for extraordinary relief, holding that the appeal was moot.Appellant, who was serving a life sentence after being convicted of murder in the first degree, filed a petition for medical parole. While that petition was pending, Appellant filed his petition for extraordinary relief requesting an order directing the Department of Correction to create a medical parole plan. A single justice denied the petition on the basis that Appellant had an adequate alternative remedy. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that because the petition had been denied, this appeal was moot. View "Carriere v. Department of Correction" on Justia Law

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Robert Goff appealed a district court judgment affirming a Department of Transportation hearing officer’s decision to suspend his driving privileges and denying costs and attorney’s fees. In December 2021, Fargo Police Department officers responded to a report of an unresponsive motorist parked in the parking lot of an apartment building. When Officer Blake Omberg arrived at the scene, he saw an individual, later identified as Goff, asleep in a pickup truck parked in the parking lot. Another officer and emergency personnel were already at the scene. Firefighters eventually unlocked the vehicle and Goff was awoken by law enforcement. Goff called his father, John Goff, an attorney who owned the apartment building and parking lot. John Goff arrived at the scene and spoke with law enforcement. Robert Goff was eventually arrested for being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. The Department of Transportation issued Goff a report and notice informing him that it intended to suspend his driving privileges. Goff requested an administrative hearing. The North Dakota Supreme Court reversed the suspension, concluding the public does not have a right of access to a private parking lot for vehicular use when the lot is marked “private property” and a city ordinance makes such use unlawful when so marked. The case was remanded to the district court to reconsider costs and attorney’s fees. View "Goff v. NDDOT" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus against the warden of the Richland Correctional Institution, holding that Petitioner failed to attach his commitment papers, as required by Ohio Rev. Code 2725.04(D).Petitioner, an inmate at the institution, was serving a sentence for aggravated murder and other felonies. In his petition for a writ of habeas corpus Petitioner argued that the failure to accord him a parole hearing as required under the original sentencing entry. In his returned, the warden argued that the writ should be denied because Petitioner did not comply with section 2725.04(D). The Supreme Court agreed and denied the writ, holding that that affidavit attached to Petitioner's habeas petition did not offer a legitimate justification for Petitioner's failure to comply with section 2725.04(D). View "McDonald v. Black" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the Sex Offender Registry Board initiating an upward reclassification of John Doe when he was charged with additional sex offenses, holding that there was clear and convincing evidence supporting the level three classification.In 1998, Doe pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of victim one and was classified as a level two sex offender. In 2009, Doe was found guilty of two counts of rape and abuse of a child without force and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person age fourteen or older involving victim two. In 2010, Defendant was found guilty of two counts of rape of a child as to victim three. After Defendant was charged with the additional sex offenses relating to victims two and three, the Board notified Doe of his duty to register as a level three sex offender. The superior court and appeals court upheld the Board's decision. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the hearing examiner's decision was supported by substantial evidence and was not arbitrary or capricious. View "Doe v. Sex Offender Registry Bd." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellant's declaratory judgment action against Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and the Wyoming Board of Parole, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that Appellant lacked standing to bring his claims.Appellant, an inmate serving a life sentence and a consecutive five-to-ten-year sentence for crimes to which he pled guilty in 1989, brought this action seeking a declaration that Wyoming's commutation procedures are unconstitutional. The district court dismissed the action, concluding that Appellant lacked standing and that Wyoming's commutation procedures did not violate Appellant's constitutional rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Appellant did not have an existing or genuine interest in or right to commutation he lacked standing to bring his declaratory judgment action; and (2) commutation decisions involve a political question that is not an appropriate subject for judicial review. View "Weldon v. Honorable Mark Gordon" on Justia Law

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Over the past 25 years, Florida lawmakers have amended the state's sex-offender registration law dozens of times, making them increasingly more burdensome. Following the state's 2018 amendments to the law, Plaintiffs, a group of men who were subject to the law based on convictions occurring before the amendment, challenged the constitutionality of the law. Finding that Plaintiffs' injuries all accrued in 2018, the district court dismissed all of Plaintiffs' claims as untimely under the applicable four-year statute of limitations.The Eleventh Circuit reversed in part. Reviewing each of Plaintiffs' claims individually, the court found that while Plaintiff's injuries originated in 2018; they were ongoing. Thus, applying the continuing violation doctrine, the court reversed the district court's holding on several of Plaintiffs' claims, dismissing the remaining claims as untimely. View "Jane Doe, et al. v. Richard L. Swearingen" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether the suspension of petitioner’s driver’s license for refusing a breath test was valid when, in addition to providing petitioner with the statutorily required information regarding rights and consequences, the arresting officer also told petitioner that she would seek a search warrant for a blood draw if petitioner refused the test. The Department of Transportation, Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division (DMV) suspended petitioner’s driving privileges, but, after petitioner sought judicial review from the circuit court, the circuit court set aside that suspension, a decision that the Court of Appeals later affirmed. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded that DMV properly suspended petitioner’s driving privileges, therefore reversing the Court of Appeals’ and the circuit court’s judgments. View "Murdoch v. DMV" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus, holding that Appellant's petition was moot.Appellant pleaded no contest to several drug-related offenses and was sentenced to six years' imprisonment. Appellant later filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, arguing that sentencing errors entitled him to immediate release. The court of appeals granted the warden's motion to dismiss under Civ.R. 12(B)(6) for failure to state a valid claim in relief. After he appealed, Appellant was released from prison. The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals' dismissal of the action, holding that Appellant's release from incarceration meant that his habeas claim was moot. View "State ex rel. Johnson v. Foley" on Justia Law