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Tag Archives: Constitutional

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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WDVA: Fired county employee’s First Amendment claim is triable (access required)

A county’s former Director of Tourism presented genuine factual disputes as to whether he was fired in retaliation for his past vote to censure members of the county board of supervisors who voted to raise taxes. Background At a Bedford ...

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EDVA: New SCOTUS ruling doesn’t bar torture claims (access required)

Claims against a U.S. military contractor for its involvement in abuse of Abu Ghraib prison detainees can proceed and are not affected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s April decision in Jesner v. Arab Bank PLC. Background This civil action arises out ...

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4th Cir.: Failure to raise appellate issue was ineffective assistance (access required)

It was unreasonable for the defendant’s prior appellate counsel not to argue that his money laundering convictions were invalid because of a “merger” issue. Thus, the district court should not have denied the defendant’s habeas claim based on ineffective assistance ...

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Va. Cir.: Marijuana odor not supported by body cam footage (access required)

Officers’ recollection that a strong marijuana odor emanated from a vehicle wasn’t consistent with video of their search: The car doors were closed, the marijuana discovered was raw and enclosed, and the officers never mentioned the odor before the search. ...

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4th Cir.: Imprisonment not sufficient to appoint counsel (access required)

The district court did not err in dismissing an inmate’s Eighth Amendment claims or in declining to appoint counsel, but remand is necessary because the lower court failed to address the plaintiff’s state-law medical malpractice claims. Background Plaintiff Steven Banks ...

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4th Cir.: Shooting suicidal man was excessive force (access required)

An officer violated the Fourth Amendment in shooting a suicidal man who had a knife but was threatening only himself. The officer was entitled to qualified immunity, but the unconstitutionality of his actions is clearly established as of the date ...

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4th Cir.: High defamation standard applies to school board employee (access required)

Based on her responsibilities as set forth in the Virginia Code, a school board’s Director of Budget & Finance was a “public official” who had to show actual malice to prove that a TV news station defamed her. She failed ...

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EDVA: Court won’t seal trial records containing proprietary info (access required)

A company waived the confidentiality of its business information presented at trial. First Amendment principles and the company’s failure to follow Local Rule 5(C) also weighed against sealing the records. Background In this products liability action, a jury trial was ...

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