June 2016

Florida:  Lawyer’s Arrival Means Interview Must Stop Even if Suspect Isn’t Technically “In Custody”

A divided Florida Supreme Court held that police interrogators questioning a man about a crime had a duty under the state’s due process clause to tell him that his lawyer had arrived at the station even though the man wasn’t technically in custody during the interview.  This ruling clarifies that the due process analysis doesn’t hinge on whether a person is deemed to be in custody.  State v. McAdams, 2016 BL 126886 (Fla., No. SC14-788, 04-21-16; full text at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/State_v_McAdams_No_SC14788_2016_BL_126886_Fla_Apr_21_2016_Court_O.

Sixth Circuit:  Officers Don’t Need a Search Warrant to Collect Real-Time Cell Site Location Data

The Sixth Circuit held that mobile phone customers don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the cell tower location records kept by wireless carriers that reveal the areas where phones were used.  This decision means that police may rely on court orders instead of search warrants to gather information about a suspect’s movement through mobile phone records.  United States v. Carpenter, 2016 BL 114989 (6th Cir., No. 14-1572, 04-13-16; full text at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/UNITED_STATES_OF_AMERICA_Plaintiff/Appellee_v_No_TIMOTHY_IVORY_CAR.

Seventh Circuit:  Jardines Rule Extended on Dog Sniffs to Locked, Shared Hall in Apartment Building

The Seventh Circuit held that police officers violated the Fourth Amendment when they walked a drug-detection dog up to a suspect’s door in the common hallway of an apartment building and used the dog’s “alert” to secure a search warrant.  This is the first time a federal circuit court has extended the dog-sniff rule to the apartment hallway scenario.  The court reasoned that just as an officer wouldn’t be allowed to place a stethoscope on an apartment door to listen, so, too, are the police barred from intruding into a person’s privacy with the “super-sensitive” nose of a drug dog.  United States v. Whitaker, 2016 BL 113879 (7th Cir., No. 14-3290, 04-12-16; full text at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/United_States_v_Whitaker_No_143290_and_143506_2016_BL_113879_7th_.

Ninth Circuit:  Indigent Man Resentenced Under Miller Entitled to Expert to Show Rehabilitation

The Ninth Circuit held that a man being resentenced in the wake of Miller should have been allowed to present expert evidence at his new hearing to show that his maturity and rehabilitation in the 12 years since he committed the crime now justified a more lenient term.  The court found that the denial of the expert effectively deprived the defendant of the opportunity to respond effectively to the PSR’s conclusions about his prison record.  United States v. Pete, 2016 BL 112335 (9th Cir., No. 14-10370, 04-11-16; full text at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/United_States_v_Pete_No_1410370_2016_BL_112335_9th_Cir_Apr_11_201.

United States Supreme Court:  SCOTUS Determines 9th Circuit Improperly Presumed State Decision Wasn’t on Merits

A divided United States Supreme Court shot down the Ninth Circuit’s effort to make it a little easier for prisoners to get federal habeas corpus relief when a state supreme court has denied their claims without explanation.  The rule allowing claimants to dodge the on-the-merits impediment and qualify for federal habeas relief by “looking through” a high court’s summary rejection to the lower court’s invocation of a procedural bar doesn’t come into play here because the lower court bar in this case “could not possibly have been a ground” for the California Supreme Court’s summary denial of the petition.  Kernan v. Hinojosa, 2016 BL 154329 (U.S.S.C., No. 15-833, 05-16-16); full text at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Kernan_v_Hinojosa_No_15833_US_May_16_2016_Court_opinion.

Ninth Circuit:  Internet Ban as Release Condition Overturned Where Internet Use Wasn’t Integral to Crime

The Ninth Circuit held that a federal district judge overstepped his authority when he sua sponte imposed a condition of supervised release requiring a man convicted of securities fraud to forgo using the Internet without prior approval from his probation officer.  The court stated that the defendant’s use of the Internet to communicate with investors and co-conspirators was only tangential to his scheme and was no more integral to the fraud than his use of the phone or postal service.  United States v. LaCoste, 2016 BL 151605 (9th Cir., No. 15-30001, 05-12-16); full text at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/United_States_v_Lacoste_No_1530001_206_BL_151605_9th_Cir_May_12_.

Ninth Circuit:  Flawed Forensics May Give Rise to Due Process Claim on Habeas Review

The Ninth Circuit joined the Third Circuit in finding that petitioners may seek habeas relief from convictions based on flawed forensic evidence despite the fact that the U.S.S.C. has yet to establish such a standard.  Flawed evidence could constitute a procedural due process violation if it tainted a defendant’s entire trial with fundamentally unfair error.  Gimenez v. Ochoa, 2016 BL 146745 (9th Cir., No. 14-55681, 05-09-16); full text at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Gimenez_v_Ochoa_No_1455681_2016_BL_146745_9th_Cir_May_09_2016_Cou.

Eastern District, New York:  Sentence Guided by Collateral Consequences

The Eastern District Court of New York rendered a non-incarceratory sentence in part because of a number of statutory and regulatory collateral consequences the defendant will face as a convicted felon.  The court stated that “[w]hile consideration of the collateral consequences a convicted felon must face should be part of a sentencing judge’s calculus in arriving at a just punishment, it does nothing, of course, to mitigate the fact that those consequences will still attach.”  United States v. Nesbeth, (E.D.N.Y., No. 15-CR-18 (FB), 05-24-16).

Florida:  Life Sentence with Possibility for Parole After 25 Years for Juvenile Indistinguishable From a Life Sentence

The Supreme Court of Florida held that a juvenile’s sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after serving twenty-five years for first-degree murder was unconstitutional because the state’s existing parole system does not provide for individualized consideration of the defendant’s juvenile status at the time of the murder, as required by Miller.  The defendant’s sentence is virtually indistinguishable from a sentence of life without parole.  Atwell v. State of Florida, (FLA., No. SC14-193, 05-26-16).