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    Jason Holder

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    CIVIL RIGHTS: Noncitizen Charged with Deportable Crime Is Entitled to Jury Trial

    Posted by Jason Holder on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 @ 12:01 PM

    The Lawletter Vol 44 No 2

    Jason Holder—Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                Following an incident in which he allegedly grabbed, choked, and struck the mother of his children, Saylor Suazo (“Suazo”) was charged with a variety of crimes including assault in the third degree, unlawful imprisonment in the second degree, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, endangering the welfare of a child, menacing, and harassment in the second degree.  People v. Suazo, No. 117, 2018 WL 6173962, at *1 (N.Y. Nov. 27, 2018).  Immediately before the start of trial, however, the prosecution moved to reduce the charges to attempt crimes.  Id.  This reduction meant that Suazo now faced a maximum sentence of three months in jail and, more importantly, that the offenses could be tried without a jury pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law § 340.40(2).  Id. 

                Suazo challenged the reduction and continued to assert his right to a jury trial, arguing that he was a noncitizen charged with deportable offenses rendering any conviction sufficiently serious to mandate a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment.  Id.  In response, the prosecution argued that any deportation was merely a "collateral consequence" and not a criminal penalty for the purposes of the Sixth Amendment.  Id. 

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    Topics: Sixth Amendment, civil rights, Jason Holder, noncitizen, deportable crime, entitlement to jury trial

    CIVIL RIGHTS: SCOTUS Overturns Lower Courts' Conclusions on Probable Cause And Qualified Immunity

    Posted by Jason Holder on Fri, Sep 28, 2018 @ 11:09 AM

    The Lawletter Vol 43 No 4

    Jason Holder, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                Early in the morning on March 16, 2008, the D.C. Police received a complaint of loud music coming from a house in Northeast D.C. District of Columbia v. Wesby, 138 S. Ct. 577, 583 (2018). When officers responded to the house, they found it in a state of disarray with beer bottles and cups of liquor all over. Id. The floor was so dirty, the officers noted, "that one of the partygoers refused to sit on it while being questioned." Id. Although it had working electricity and plumbing, the house contained no furniture aside from a few folding chairs. A further inspection of the house found the living room transformed into "a makeshift strip club," and "more debauchery upstairs." Id.

                While many of the 21 individuals found in the house claimed to be throwing a bachelor party, none could identify the supposed bachelor. Id. A woman identified only as "'Peaches' or 'Tasty,'" was allegedly renting the house, but when the officers attempted to contact her, "Peaches" refused to meet with police "because she was afraid of being arrested." Id. "Peaches" eventually admitted that she did not have permission to be in the house and a call to the owner confirmed this. Id. at 583-84. Based upon their investigation, the officers arrested all 21 individuals present for unlawful entry, id. at 584, although a lieutenant later decided to charge them with disorderly conduct. Id. All charges were ultimately dropped. Id.

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    Topics: probable cause, qualified immunity, criminal procedure, totality of the circumstances

    CIVIL RIGHTS: Third Circuit Joins Sister Circuits in Recognizing Right to Record Police

    Posted by Jason Holder on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 @ 11:10 AM

    The Lawletter Vol 42 No 8

    Jason Holder, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                Amanda Geraci ("Geraci") attempted to record a Philadelphia police officer's actions as he arrested an antifracking protester. Fields v. City of Philadelphia, 862 F.3d 353, 356 (3d Cir. 2017). Despite the fact that she was not interfering with the officer, a second officer pinned Geraci against a pillar, preventing her from observing or recording the arrest. Id. Geraci faced neither arrest nor citation for her actions. Id.

                Richard Fields ("Fields") was walking down a public sidewalk when he noticed a number of police officers breaking up a house party across the street.  Id. As Fields took a photograph of the scene, an officer ordered him to leave the scene. Id. When Fields refused, the officer arrested him, confiscated his phone, and searched it opening "several videos and other photos."  Id.

                Geraci and Fields brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging, inter alia, "that the officers illegally retaliated against them for exercising their First Amendment right to record public police activity."  Id.  In doing so, they noted a 2011 Philadelphia Police Department memorandum "advising officers not to interfere with a private citizen's recording of police activity because it was protected by the First Amendment," and department directive issued a year later reiterating the existence of the right.  Id. 

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    Topics: civil rights, First Amendment rights, right to record police activity, access to information

    EDUCATION LAW: Scotus Offers Circuits Guidance as to Scope of 20 U.S.C. § 1415(l) and the Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

    Posted by Jason Holder on Mon, Jul 17, 2017 @ 17:07 PM

    The Lawletter Vol 42 No 6

    Jason Holder, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et seq., is designed "to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education ["FAPE"]."  20 U.S.C. § 1400(d)(1)(A).  In Fry v. Napoleon Community School, 137 S. Ct. 743 (2017), the Supreme Court examined an IDEA provision which "addresses the Act's relationship with other laws protecting those children." Id. at 748. While the provision does not limit rights under other federal laws, it provides that "if a suit brought under such a law 'seek[s] relief that is also available under' the IDEA, the plaintiff must first exhaust the IDEA's administrative procedures." Id. (citing 20 U.S.C. § 1415(l)).

                Under the IDEA, an individualized education program ("IEP") serves as the primary vehicle for providing a child with a FAPE.  Id. at 749 (citing Honig v. Doe, 484 U.S. 305, 311 (1988)). If parents are unsatisfied with an IEP, they can file a complaint with the local or state educational agency (as provided by state law) or "may instead (or also) pursue a full-fledged mediation process." Id. Next, the parents may seek a due process hearing appealable to a state agency (if originally conducted at the local level).  Id.  Only after these steps are completed may a parent seek judicial review with a civil action in state or federal court.  Id.

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    Topics: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, free appropriate public education, individualized education program, exhaustion of remedies

    CRIMINAL PROCEDURE: Ninth Circuit Adopts "Plain Hearing" Doctrine

    Posted by Jason Holder on Thu, Feb 2, 2017 @ 16:02 PM

    The Lawletter Vol 42 No 1

    Jason Holder, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

         In United States v. Carey, 836 F.3d 1092, 1093 (9th Cir. 2016), federal agents secured a wiretap order under the Wiretap Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510-2522. The order was based upon evidence that Ignacio Escamilla Estrada ("Escamilla") used the number to smuggle and distribute drugs. Carey, 836 F.3d at 1093. During the seven-day wiretap, the agents realized that Escamilla was not the one using the phone. Id. Nevertheless, believing that those on the phone may be connected to Escamilla, the agents continued listening. Id. Authorities ultimately identified Michael Carey as the unknown speaker. Id. The investigation revealed that Carey was not involved with Escamilla. Id. at 1094.

         Carey moved to suppress all of the evidence derived from the use of the wiretaps, arguing that the government had unlawfully relied on the Escamilla order to justify the independent and unrelated use of wiretap surveillance against Carey. Id. The district court denied Carey's motion, explaining that (1) the government had complied with the statute for the wiretap order against Escamilla, and (2) that there was no requirement for a separate showing of necessity once the agents concluded that T-14 was not used by Escamilla because the agents reasonably believed that the callers and calls might be affiliated with Escamilla or other offenses. Id. at 1095.

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    Topics: Ninth Circuit, "plain hearing" doctrine, wiretapping, criminal procedure

    CRIMINAL LAW: Use of Risk Assessment Tools in Sentencing Upheld . . . For Now

    Posted by Jason Holder on Tue, Oct 4, 2016 @ 13:10 PM

    The Lawletter Vol 41 No 8

    Jason Holder, Research Attorney, National Legal Research Group

         In State v. Loomis, 2016 WI 68, 881 N.W.2d 749, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin upheld the use of risk assessment tools at sentencing against a due process challenge. In doing so, however, the Loomis court noted that such tools are consistent with due process protections only if they are used properly and in accordance with certain limitations. Additionally, the court may have provided a possible road map for future challenges to the use of risk assessment tools at sentencing.

         Loomis had been charged with a number of offenses stemming from a drive-by shooting and ultimately pleaded guilty to two of the lesser offenses. A presentence investigation report was prepared and included a Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions ("COMPAS") risk assessment. In ruling out probation, the circuit court noted that it did so because "of the seriousness of the crime and because your history, your history on supervision, and the risk assessment tools that have been utilized, suggest that you're extremely high risk to re-offend." Id. ¶ 19, 881 N.W.2d at 755.

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    Topics: criminal law, The Lawletter Vol 41 No 8, Jason Holder, risk assessment, due process challenge

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