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Civil Rights, Criminal, Immigration, and Injury and Tort Law Matters

By FindLaw Staff on March 26, 2010 4:41 PM

In Chawla v. Holder, No. 05-74823, the Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming a denial of petitioner's asylum application, holding that none of the reasons articulated by the Immigration Judge or BIA, considered either separately or in combination, provided a legitimate basis to question petitioner's credibility.

In US v. Dewey, No. 08-30450, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's drug conspiracy sentence, holding that 1) the court generally did not review challenges to the effectiveness of defense counsel on direct appeal; 2) because defendant's 1990 sentence was greater than one year and one month, and his date of last release from prison on that sentence was within the fifteen-year period, the trial court did not err in concluding that defendant qualified as a career offender; and 3) defendant's within-guideline sentence could not be deemed unreasonable when his prior felony offenses brought him within the Guidelines as a career offender.

Brooks v. Seattle, No. 08-35526, concerned an action against a city and its police officers claiming the officers used excessive force when they tased plaintiff three times to effect her arrest.  The court of appeals reversed the denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity, holding that 1) the officers had probable cause to arrest plaintiff because she refused to sign a notice of infraction concerning her speeding violation, which amounted to a violation of the Seattle Municipal Code; 2) the use of the Taser in drive-stun mode was painful but also temporary and localized, without incapacitating muscle contractions or significant lasting injury; and 3) the district court's general and vague statement that there were "numerous other means of removing" plaintiff reflected after-the-fact speculation and failed to address what else the officers could have done in the situation that confronted them at that moment, when they needed to get the resistant plaintiff out of the car to arrest her.

Daniel v. Coleman Co., No. 08-35592, involved a wrongful death action against the manufacturer of a propane heater.  The court of appeals affirmed judgment for defendant, on the grounds that 1) there was no post-sale duty to warn of a danger already accounted for; and 2) the district court did not err in excluding the results of several tests performed by defendant on its indoor "camping" heater, as well as evidence of an earlier warning campaign associated with the same heater, because plaintiff was permitted to present substantially equivalent evidence.

In US v. Castro, No. 09-50164, the Ninth Circuit vacated defendant's sentence for attempted reentry into the U.S. after removal, holding that defendant's prior conviction under California Penal Code section 288(c)(1) categorically constituted neither "sexual abuse of a minor" nor "statutory rape" and therefore did not qualify as a crime of violence warranting a sixteen-level increase.

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