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Criminal Law

CAV: Prior statement was cumulative, corroborated (access required)

Even if a witness’s prior consistent written statement did not meet the standards for admissibility under the applicable hearsay exception, it didn’t affect the jury verdict because it was corroborated by substantial other testimony. Background Appellant Juan Candelaria and Joseph ...

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4th Cir.: Court didn’t explain rejection of mental health mitigation (access required)

When asked to impose a shorter sentence based on the defendant’s well-documented history of mental illness, the sentencing court was required to explain why it rejected such mitigation. Defense counsel had argued that the defendant’s multiple death threats sent to ...

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4th Cir.: Va. conviction constituted abusive sexual conduct (access required)

Appellant James Landry pled guilty to possession of images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The district court determined that Landry’s 2004 Virginia conviction for taking indecent liberties with children, in violation of Code § 18.2-370, qualifies as a ...

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4th Cir.: Forensic search of gun smuggler’s phone reasonable (access required)

Although a forensic search of a digital phone is a “non-routine” border search that requires an individualized suspicion of illegal activity, CBP agents had such reasonable suspicion when they seized a suspected weapons smuggler’s phone and extracted communications data and ...

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4th Cir.: Commutation mooted challenge to initial sentence (access required)

A defendant initially sentenced to six life terms for non-homicide offenses received a partial pardon  from Virginia’s then-governor. The pardon mooted the defendant’s constitutional challenge to his initial sentence, and the district court erred in ruling on it. Background At ...

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EDVA: Review framework may violate immigrants’ due process rights (access required)

In a defendant’s motion to dismiss his criminal indictment for illegal re-entry, he was entitled to some meaningful review of a deportation proceeding upon which his criminal prosecution was based. While he prevailed on his constitutional claim, he could not ...

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CAV: “Reasonable reliance” defense applied to court order (access required)

A jury should have been allowed to consider whether it was reasonable for the defendant, charged with possessing a firearm while subject to a protective order, to believe that a JDR court had dissolved the order. Background While Appellant Nicholas ...

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Va. Cir.: Nolle prosequi extinguishes GDC jurisdiction (access required)

A general district court’s grant of nolle prosequi was a final order that immediately divested it of jurisdiction. Thus, its subsequent actions of prompting the prosecutor to reconsider nolle prosequi, and then reversing its prior grant, were an abuse of ...

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