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Opinion Digests

4th Cir.: EPA’s water oversight not yet triggered by state inaction (access required)

Although West Virginia has not promulgated or submitted required pollutant limits for its “biologically impaired” waterways, this failure doesn’t yet amount to a constructive submission of “no limits,” which would trigger EPA duties under the Clean Water Act. Background West ...

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4th Cir.: Vets’ tort claims against contractor not justiciable (access required)

Waste and water management systems in Iraq and Afghanistan were operationally controlled by the military, not its contractor. Thus, mass tort claims for harms caused by the contractors’ alleged environmental mismanagement were barred by the political question doctrine. Background As ...

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4th Cir.: Tip from identifiable source supported seizure (access required)

Officers acting in part on a tip from a 911 caller who gave only his first name had a reasonable articulable suspicion that the defendant had committed a crime, based on corroborating facts the officers discovered at the scene. The ...

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4th Cir.: Juvenile D.C. sniper to be resentenced under Miller (access required)

The younger “D.C. sniper,” who was a teenager when he was convicted of several murders and related crimes, must be resentenced following retroactive constitutional standards for juvenile punishment, established subsequent to his sentencing. Background During about seven weeks in 2002, ...

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SCOTUS: Second trial didn’t violate Double Jeopardy, preclusion (access required)

A defendant who agrees to have the charges against him considered in two trials cannot later argue successfully that the second trial offends the Fifth Amendment. Background This case began when police dredged up a safe full of guns from ...

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Va. Cir.: Ex parte hearing granted, but before different judge (access required)

An indigent defendant facing two life sentences for rape and related offenses can argue ex parte why he requires expert assistance, but he must make his case to a circuit judge other than the one presiding over the case. Background ...

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CAV: Bench warrant for revocation hearing was proper (access required)

Under Code § 19.2-306, the circuit court had jurisdiction to hear the case against the appellant when it revoked her “indefinite” probation and ordered her to serve 90 days of her previously suspended sentence. Background Appellant Dorothy Cilwa was convicted ...

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CAV: Improvements didn’t cure need for foster care (access required)

Although a mother had gotten a job, completed parenting classes, and attended counseling, her housing was not stable enough to provide care for her three young children, two of whom needed therapy. Background Appellant Misty Watkins and Johnathan Watkins are ...

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