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In another important Fourth Amendment case, the Supreme Court held today that the mere fact that a driver in lawful possession or control of a rental car is not listed on the rental agreement will not defeat his or her otherwise reasonable expectation of privacy.
The Government’s contention that drivers who are not listed on rental agreements always lack an expectation of privacy in the car rests on too restrictive a view of the Fourth Amendment’s protections. However, a car thief does NOT have an expecation of privacy in a stolen car. The Supreme Court left open for argument on remand the Government’s argument that one who intentionally uses a third party to procure a rental car by a fraudulent scheme for the purpose of committing a crime is no better situated than a car thief. That issue is not decided.
Lots of interesting parts to this opinion, and definitely worth a read.
In a groundbreaking case, the United States Supreme Court held today that when a client makes it plain that the objective of “his defence” is to maintain innocence of the charged criminal acts and pursue an acquittal, his lawyer must abide by that objective and may not override it by conceding guilt. To do otherwise is to render ineffective assistance of counsel.
Roberty McCoy was charged with murdering his estranged wife’s mother, stepfather, and son. McCoy pleaded not guilty to first degree murder, insisting that he was out of State at the time of the killings and that corrupt police killed the victims when a drug deal went wrong. Although he vociferously insisted on his innocence and adamantly objected to any admission of guilt, the trial court permitted his counsel to argue that McCoy was guilty but his mental state prevented him from forming the criminal intent to kill. McCoy testified in his own defense, insisting he was innocent and maintaining his alibi. He was convicted, and at the penalty phase, his lawyer again argued he was guilty and asked the jury to spare his life. He was sentenced to death.
He sought a new trial, but the trial court and the Louisiana Supreme Court both held his lawyer had the authority to concede guilt as a legitimate trial strategy.
The Supreme Court said otherwise.
This is an extremely interesting decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In this case, the Third Circuit holds that a 65-year sentence for a 16-year old convicted of non-homicide offenses constitutes a de facto life without parole sentence that is unconstitutional under Graham v. Florida and Miller v. Alabama because it denies the person of the “meaningful opportunity to obtain release” mandate.
When the Defendant was 16, he was convicted of RICO offenses and determined to be incorrigible, and sentenced to life without parole. After Graham and Miller were decided, he filed a 28 U.S.C. 2255 petition, challenging the LWOP sentence. The District Court vacated the sentence, but imposed a sentence of 65 years. He successfully challenged the sentence as unconstitutional, arguing that there is no real distinction between 65 years and LWOP.
THIS DECISION IS WELL WORTH THE READ AND CAN HELP PRACTITIONERS IN THEIR SENTENCING ARGUMENTS.
This may be headed to SCOTUS
Interesting profiles of several NYC judges, especially Judge Braithwaite-Nelson from the Second Department
Second Department reverses denial of motion to vacate guilty plea, vacates plea, and remands for further proceedings.
Defendant, a non-citizen, pled guilty to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree in 2004. His lawyer advised him that his plea to cocaine possession "may" have adverse consequences, when in reality, deportation was mandatory.
He filed a notice of appeal, but the appeal was dismissed as abandoned in 2005. In 2013, he successfully moved to reinstate the appeal, and the Appellate Division reinstated the appeal. In this highly unusual circumstances, the Second Department held that because the appeal was reinstated, the Defendant's conviction was not final, and he could claim a benefit of a favorable change in the law under Padilla v. Kentucky.
Congratulations to my former mentor, colleague and friend Scott Brettschneider on a well-deserved win!
Congratulations to Laura Solinger
This is not a criminal case, but it is still nonetheless important for those who handle Federal habeas corpus petitions and Federal civil rights cases under 42 U.S.C. 1983.
Consider the following introductory paragraph of this opinion:
We hold that an affidavit which satisfies Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure may create an issue of material fact and preclude summary judgment even if it is self-serving and uncorroborated. And because this principle applies in all civil cases, including those in the realm of tax law, we overrule that portion of Mays v. United States, 763 F.2d 1295, 1297 (11th Cir. 1985), which is (or may be interpreted to be) to the contrary.
Another rough week in New York State Courts
No reversals to report.
However, there was an interesting reversal from the Second Circuit. In this unusual case, the Defendant was charged with multiple counts of drug‐related charges, including the manufacture of 1,000 or more marijuana plants, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and § 841(b)(1)(A).
For a number of reasons, his case did not proceed for trial for 7 years, during which time the Defendant was incarcerated, and despite his numerous requests for a Speedy Trial.
The Second Circuit reversed and dismissed, finding that his Constitutional right to a Speedy Trial was violated
This case goes through the factors of Barker v. Wingo, the central Supreme Court case on the Speedy Trial guarantee of the Sixth Amendment, and is well worth the read.
The latest from Texas. Meanwhile, in New York...
This is a blog for Patrick Michael Megaro, criminal defense and appeals attorney. Each week we will post a digest of reported New York appellate decisions for the public and the bar's information to stay on the cutting edge of criminal law in the State of New York. THIS IS A FREE RESOURCE!!!!
NY Law Journal report on Judge shopping by Staten Island DA follows up on NY Post article of 12/12
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