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Author Archives: Deborah Elkins

Civil Rights – Police Dog Bite – Drunken Teen – Qualified Immunity (access required)

A police officer who used his “find-and-bite” patrol dog to search for a 13-year-old boy reportedly suffering from alcohol intoxication and hypothermia has qualified immunity from the boy’s suit for violation of his Fourth Amendment rights after the police dog ...

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Criminal – Interlocutory Appeal – Contempt Order – Lawyer’s Files (access required)

The 4th Circuit says it’s ironic that a lawyer under investigation for fraudulent billing of the West Virginia Public Defender Services has to comply with a district court’s order to produce documents for privilege review, in order to appeal her ...

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Criminal – Sentencing – Standard Of Review – Plain Error (access required)

When a defendant objects to a district court that it has failed to consider 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)’s required sentencing factors and give an adequate explanation for its sentence, the 4th Circuit reviews the claim under an abuse-of-discretion standard, but ...

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Criminal – Sentencing – Career Criminal – Violent Felonies (access required)

The 4th Circuit rejects a North Carolina defendant’s argument that his prior “violent felonies” of B&E do not add up for sentencing as an armed career criminal because multiple offenses were committed on the same occasions, as in his breaking ...

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Criminal – Habeas Corpus – Va. Death Penalty – Atkins (access required)

The 4th Circuit rejects a Virginia death-row defendant’s petition seeking habeas relief on the ground that he is mentally retarded under Virginia law, as record evidence supports the district court determination. In Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), the ...

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Criminal – Habeas Corpus – Va. Death Case – Atkins – New Test Evidence (access required)

A death-row defendant’s lawyers for both his state and federal habeas applications did not find records of a test score relevant to proving defendant’s mental retardation under Atkins until two weeks before the evidentiary hearing held by the district court, ...

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Quick 10: Memorable litigants   (access required)

Here at Virginia Lawyers Weekly, we occasionally are entertained by some of the more memorable names we see, in case captions or press releases. Whether these are given names, or names fashioned by the particular litigant in question, we can’t ...

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Employment Discrimination – Title VII – Successor Defendant – Virginia Sheriff (access required)

A Virginia sheriff may be an independent constitutional sheriff, but a successor sheriff has to face a successful Title VII sexual harassment claim filed against her predecessor, the 4th Circuit says. Lespia King, a former deputy in the sheriff’s office ...

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