The RCBA Journal Legal News Blog

The Fifth Circuit erred in holding that defendant, who pled guilty to possessing child pornography, two of which depicted images of the victim here, was liable for said victim’s entire losses from the trade in her images, where: 1) restitution is proper under 18 U.S.C. 2259 only to the extent the defendant’s offense proximately caused a victim’s losses; 2) victims should be compensated and defendants should be held to account for the impact of their conduct on those victims, but defendants should only be made liable for the consequences and gravity of their own conduct, not the conduct of others; and 3) a court should order restitution in an amount that comports with the defendant’s relative role in the causal process underlying the victim’s general losses.

The Sixth Circuit erred in granting defendant’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, challenging his capital sentence for murder, kidnapping and first-degree rape on the basis that the trial court denied defense counsel’s request to instruct the jury not to draw any adverse inference from defendant’s decision not to testify at the penalty phase, where the Kentucky Supreme Court’s rejection of defendant’s Fifth Amendment claim was not objectively unreasonable.

Defendants’ motion to suppress evidence of marijuana was properly denied, where: 1) defendants’ truck was stopped by the highway patrol because it matched the description of a vehicle that a 911 caller had recently reported as having run her off the road; 2) upon approaching the truck, the officers smelled marijuana; 3) the officers found 30 pounds of marijuana upon searching the truck; and 4) the traffic stop complied with the Fourth Amendment because, under the totality of the circumstances, the officer had reasonable suspicion that the truck’s driver was intoxicated.

An amendment to the Constitution of the State of Michigan, approved and enacted by its voters, which prohibits the use of race-based preferences as part of the admissions process for state universities is upheld, where the plurality concludes that there is no authority in the Federal Constitution or in the Court’s precedents for the Judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit to the voters the determination whether racial preferences may be considered in governmental decisions, in particular with respect to school admissions.

n the Matter of Gabriela A., No. 41 
The Appellate Division properly reversed the Family Court’s dispositional order which found the juvenile, who was already designated as a “person in need of supervision” (PINS), to be a juvenile delinquent, and placed in a secure facility, where: 1) the Appellate Division found that the juvenile’s resistance to being returned to the non-secure facility fell within the bounds of acting “beyond the lawful control of … lawful authority” rather than Penal Law section 195.05; and 2) this finding more nearly comports with the weight of the evidence.

The lower court properly dismissed an entire case involving a banking transaction between a Dubai bank and a partnership headquartered in Saudi Arabia, because of the inconvenience of the forum, where: 1) the rule against dismissing a complaint sua sponte on forum non conveniens grounds did bar the dismissal here because the issue was briefed and argued; and 2) on this record, Supreme Court was corrects as a matter of law in dismissing both the complaint and the third-party complaint.

The People did not meet their CPL 30.30 speedy trial obligation to be timely ready for trial and, as a result, the misdemeanor information should be dismissed.

Dismissal of an action brought by plaintiff-union member seeking damages from defendant-union for breach of the duty of fair representation is affirmed, where the Appellate Division properly relied on Martin v Curran (303 NY 276 [1951]) in determining that dismissal was proper because the complaint failed to allege that defendant-union’s conduct was ratified by “every single member” of the association.

Defendant’s conviction of first-degree manslaughter is affirmed, where the trial judge did not err in refusing to instruct the jury on second-degree manslaughter in addition to first-degree manslaughter, because the record does not reasonably support that defendant acted with mere recklessness.

In an action brought by plaintiff-labor union against defendant-transit authority alleging that its Station Supervisor Level One members were being paid a lower base salary than their claimed counterparts, Station Supervisor Level Two, for the same type of work, the lower court’s denial of defendant’s motion to dismiss is reversed, where: 1) Civil Service law section 115 states a policy only and does not confer a private right of action; and 2) the equal protection claims must be dismissed, because plaintiff freely negotiated and executed the collective bargaining agreement that contained lower wage rates for plaintiff’s members and, to the extent an equal protection claim can be raised, it must be asserted by the employees subjected to the alleged discriminatory conduct.