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Criminal Matters, Including Section 1983 Case Against Narcotics Officers

By FindLaw Staff on April 20, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

US v. Tristan-Madrigal, No. 09-1003, involved a challenge to the district court's imposition of a thirty-six month, above guidelines, sentence in a conviction for unauthorized entry from Mexico for the fourth time.  In rejecting defendant's claim that the sentence is substantively unreasonable, the court held that the consideration of defendant's past drunk-driving convictions and unauthorized reentries was proper as they were directly related and the district court did not abuse its discretion by relying on defendant's need for rehabilitation.

In Binay v. Bettendorf, No. 09-1249, the Sixth Circuit faced a challenge to the district court's denial of defendants' motion for summary judgment on the ground that they were not entitled to qualified immunity under federal law or governmental immunity under Michigan law, in plaintiffs' 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit against police officers in connection with the execution of a search warrant at plaintiffs' apartment for drugs. 

In affirming the denial, the court held that plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts to show that defendants' conduct violated the Fourth Amendment and also alleged sufficient facts to show that there is a disputed issue of material fact as to whether the two officers were personally involved in the constitutional violations.  Furthermore, the district court did not err in determining that the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity as to plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment claims or entitled to governmental immunity as to assault and battery claims, because if plaintiffs' allegations are true concerning officers' continued force against them, there is a question of fact as to whether the officers believed that they were acting within scope of their authority. 

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