Thursday, December 23, 2010

Puc-Ruiz v. Holder[1]

Opinion handed down December 23, 2010
Link to Eighth Circuit Opinion

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an administrative ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals that allowed the United States to deport an illegal alien who was Mexican citizen. Puc-Ruiz is a case of first impression for the Eighth Circuit in which the appellant alleged that he was arrested without probable cause in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The court ruled that the Fourth Amendment violation did not reach the standard of “egregious” to warrant suppression of evidence and denied all petitions for review, thus allowing the deportation to proceed.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

State v. Andrews[1]

Opinion handed down December 21, 2010
Link to Mo. Sup. Ct. Opinion

In cases where juveniles between the ages of twelve and seventeen are alleged to have committed a felony, the juvenile division may hold a certification hearing in which it may decide to transfer jurisdiction of the juvenile’s case to a court of general jurisdiction, where the juvenile may be tried as an adult. In State v. Andrews, the Supreme Court of Missouri held that Missouri’s juvenile certification statute did not violate the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial as applied in Apprendi v. New Jersey when the certification determination was made by a judge rather than a jury and when the only possible sentence under Missouri law for a minor convicted of first degree murder is life without parole. Additionally, the court held that sentencing a minor to life without parole for first degree murder does not deprive him of his right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment as provided by the Eighth Amendment.

In re Finnegan[1]

Opinion handed down December 21, 2010
Link to Mo. Sup. Ct. Opinion

The Supreme Court of Missouri rejected a recommendation that a family court commissioner be made to retire because the recommending commission lacked the authority to do so. The court ruled that the Commission on Retirement, Removal, and Discipline only had authority to make decisions regarding judges, members of judicial commissions, and members of the commission itself.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Moore v. State[1]

Opinion handed down December 7, 2010
Link to Mo. Sup. Ct. Opinion

A convicted felon in the State of Missouri has only one available avenue to correct an allegedly improper trial or conviction. Missouri Supreme Court Rule 29.15 provides that such a felon must make a claim that his conviction is improper due to (a) ineffective assistance of trial or appellate counsel, (b) the sentencing court’s improper exercise of jurisdiction, or (c) an excessive sentence in violation of the law.[2] This case involves a defendant, Anthony Moore, who was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Moore was informed by the judge at his sentencing that he would have ninety days to file for relief under 29.15 and received a copy of the court’s mandate from the court clerk that triggered the ninety day countdown; however, he waited 218 days and filed after the deadline. As a result, the lower court rejected Moore’s motion, and Moore appealed to this court, claiming that his appellate counsel ineffectively failed to notify him of the mandate. The Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed the dismissal of Moore’s 29.15 motion.

Monday, December 6, 2010

United States v. Redzic[1]

Opinion handed down December 6, 2010
Link to Eighth Circuit Opinion

On remand from the United States Supreme Court, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the defendant’s convictions for mail fraud and wire fraud under an “honest services” theory, a theory that was not explicitly stated in the indictment, trial arguments, or jury instructions, did not amount to a constructive amendment of the indictment. The court also held that defendant’s bribery conviction was supported by sufficient evidence.