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Tag Archives: Judge Stephanie Dawn Thacker

4th Cir.: Juror’s voir dire omission demands further inquiry (access required)

In a habeas challenge brought by a defendant on death row for the murder of a Norfolk law enforcement officer, an evidentiary hearing is necessary to determine whether juror bias tainted the conviction. Despite a straightforward inquiry by trial counsel, ...

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4th Cir.: Pipeline’s federal land permits invalidated (access required)

Under three environmental statutes, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service improperly approved rights-of-way through federal lands for Mountain Valley Pipeline’s construction and operation of the largest pipeline of its kind to cross the Jefferson National Forest. Background ...

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4th Cir.: Plaintiffs exhausted chances to cure deficient complaints (access required)

Protracted litigation repeatedly put consumer-plaintiffs on notice that their complaints failed to meet Rule 8 pleading standards, but they never amended their complaints during this time despite having leave to do so. Thus, the district court did not err in ...

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Bon Mots: April 2018 Edition (access required)

As seasoned attorneys know, the lofty principles that attract aspiring lawyers can quickly be overshadowed by client emergencies, Sisyphean scheduling conundrums, unreasonable opposing counsel, billing targets, intrafirm politics, and understaffed courts. But from time to time, our esteemed judges take ...

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4th Cir.: State law targeting drug prices struck down (access required)

By effectively controlling drug prices charged in other states, Maryland’s newly-enacted law targeting pharmaceutical price-gouging violates the dormant Commerce Clause. Background In response to reports that pharmaceutical manufacturers were price-gouging for certain medications, Maryland’s legislature passed HB 631 during the ...

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Dark web search warrant issued in good faith (access required)

A warrant executed in good faith, even if unconstitutional, did not render resulting evidence of child-pornography crimes inadmissible, the court of appeals held. Appellant Robert McLamb was identified by the FBI as a visitor to Playpen, a website accessible only ...

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Child Pornography – First Impression – Peer-to-Peer Sharing – ‘Distribution’ (access required)

The 4th Circuit joins its sister circuits in holding that, where files have been downloaded from a defendant’s collection of child pornography images, use of a file-sharing program constitutes distribution under 18 U.S.C. § 2252A. We affirm the district court’s ...

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Public Employees – Constitutional – First Amendment – Political Activism – Schools & School Boards – Inappropriate Comments (access required)

Penley v. McDowell County Board of Education (VLW No. 017-2-203, 31 pp.) (Thacker, J.) (Wilkinson J., concurring) 16-2034; Nov. 28, 2017; USDC at Asheville, N.C. (Cogburn J.) 4th Cir. Holding: A state house member allegedly threatened the plaintiff-teacher – who ...

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Court Upholds AWA License Renewal Rules (access required)

In PETA’s suit challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s regulations under the Animal Welfare Act for license renewal of animal exhibitors, the 4th Circuit upholds a decision deferring to the agency’s decision to conduct spot-check inspections of licensees despite PETA’s ...

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