top of page

SAMARITAN NEWSLETTER 02-05-2024

The Law Office of Tom Norrid

SAMARITAN PROJECTS II LLC

P.O. Box 9244

Springfield, MO 65801-9244


The SAMARITAN-PROJECTS prepares post-conviction and compassionate release motions along with appeals under the direction of Attorney Tom Norrid. The Samaritan-Projects’ newsletter reports every winning district court and court of appeals case for the week in review. These cases will not be on the BOP LEXIS computer for 4 to 6 weeks. The Project charges reasonable rates to retrieve cases, documents, docket sheets, transcripts, etc., from PACER.

 

The “SAMARITAN PROJECTS COMPASSIONATE RELEASE ISSUES AND CITATIONS MANUAL” is available. The Manual contains all the winning issues and supporting cases on compassionate release. To keep it simple, the book is approximately 190 pages and sent priority legal mail. The cost is $75.00. To order, have your outside contact call Eddie at 417 818 1938 or Rusty at 417 901 3000, or BP-199 the Project.

 

CR.RIS/MEDICAL. The District of Colorado granted a CR.RIS motion in United States v. Laura Trujillo-Solano, No. 21-cr-63. ECR 488 (D. Colo. Jan. 24, 2024). Trujillo-Solano moved for a sentence reduction pursuant to 18 USC 3582(c). The court found extraordinary and compelling reasons warranted such a reduction, the defendant’s motion was granted. On Dec. 8, 2022, Ms. Trujillo-Solano was sentenced to 72 months after she plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in violation of 18 USC1956(h), (a)(1)(B)(i) and (a)(2)(B)(i). This was a significant variance below the low-end guideline sentence of 141 months. Her current projected release date from custody of the Bureau of Prisons is May 13, 2026. On Dec. 1, 2023, Trujillo-Solano filed a motion for compassionate release on the basis she has terminal metastatic breast cancer. Trujillo-Solano’s motion and the medical documentation attached to it leave no doubt that she is, in fact, suffering from advanced metastatic breast cancer that has spread into her bones and liver. She is unlikely to survive more than 2-5 years with standard care, which she contends she is not receiving while in custody. The court found this prognosis meet the statutory requirement of “extraordinary and compelling reasons” for a sentence reduction. USSG 1B1.13, cmt. n.1. While the defendants’ cancer diagnosis was known at the time of sentencing, as the Government points out, there were questions about its severity and her outlook. It now is evident Trujillo-Solano’s condition is something close to the worst-case scenario. At sentencing the court specifically suggested that a motion of this sort would be an appropriate vehicle to address such an outcome. Sentence reduced to time served.

 

CR.RIS/851/COVID-19. The District of South Carolina granted a CR.RIS motion in United States v. David Stuckey, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16973 (D. S.C. Jan. 31, 2024). On May 14, 2012, Stuckey pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of crack cocaine in violation of 21 USC 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), 846, and 851. The Court sentenced him to 360-months to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Stuckey filed numerous pleadings requesting a sentence reduction under (i) 18 USC 3582(c)(1)(A) based on the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and (ii) Stuckey's position that the First Step Act changed the mandatory minimum sentence he was facing from 20 to 15 years. 3582(c)(1)(A) provides for reconsideration of a previously imposed sentence based on changes in the law favorable to a previously sentenced offender. Inequity in sentencing, based on changes in the law is a basis for relief under 3582(c)(1)(A). The Court concluded that a sentence of 240 months is now appropriate in this case.

 

CR.RIS/STATE SENTENCE CREDIT. The Western District of Louisiana granted in part a CR.RIS motion in United States v. Cornelius Kelly, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16536 (W.D. La. Jan. 30, 2024). Kelly filed a Motion for Sentence Reduction Pursuant to Section 404 of the First Step Act. Kelly requested his sentence be reduced to time served, or alternatively to 42 months and 17 days. The Government agreed Kelly is eligible for relief but argued the Court should reduce the sentence to 120 months—the statutory minimum. The defendant's motion was granted in part. Kelly was sentenced to 300 months for drug offenses, but he was in state custody at the time of sentencing, and after serving just shy of fourteen 14 years for the conduct set forth in the federal indictment, Kelly was released from state custody on June 22, 2023, and immediately transferred into federal custody. Kelly's current projected release date is Sept. 12, 2044. The BOP has determined Kelly will receive no credit for any time spent in state custody. The Court reduced the defendant’s sentence to 120-months.

 

APPEAL/CR.RIS. The First Circuit vacated and remanded United States v. Jose Cruz-Quilan, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 2144 (1st Cir. Jan. 25, 2024). Cruz-Quilan appealed the district court's denial of his request for compassionate release pursuant to 18 USC 3582(c)(1)(A)(i). After review, the court concluded that vacatur and remand were in order. The appellant pointed out in his briefing the Government mistakenly stated in its district court response that appellant had been convicted of two carjacking offenses during federal criminal proceedings and the district court seemingly echoed the Government's mistake in the order denying compassionate release. "[H]e also committed a second carjacking during which the victim was threatened." Appellant pressed before the district court factors appropriate for consideration in the compassionate release context. The court was not convinced the district court's misunderstanding of the number of carjackings involved in appellant's federal criminal proceedings did not meaningfully impact the district court's decision to deny compassionate release. That misunderstanding coupled with the sparseness of the remainder of the district court's order of denial lead the court to conclude that vacatur and remand was the safer course. The district court's order denying compassionate release was vacated and the case was remanded for further consideration informed by a correct understanding of the scope of relevant federal criminal proceedings.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Western District of North Carolina granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Cody Thomas, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17263 (W.D. N.C. Jan. 31, 2024).  The defendant’s 135-month sentence was reduced to time served plus 30 days.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Southern District of New York granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Donald Williams, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16125 (S.D. N.Y. Jan. 30, 2024). The defendant was on home confinement and his sentence was reduced to time served.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Northern District of Ohio granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Joseph Ware, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15602 (N.D. Ohio Jan. 30, 2024). The defendant’s sentence of 184-months was reduced to time served.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Southern District of Illinois granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Joshua Newsom, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15504 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 29, 2024). The defendant’s sentence of 121-months was reduced to 108-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The District of Maine granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Timothy Majeroni, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14839 (D. Me. Jan. 29, 2024). The defendant’s sentence of 150-months was reduced to 136-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Southern District of Illinois granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Elijah Lacy, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15496 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 29, 2024).  The defendant’s sentence of 235-months was reduced to 210-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Southern District of Illinois granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Marcus Greer. 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15492 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 29, 2024).  The defendant’s sentence of 57-months was reduced to 51-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Western District of North Carolina granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Rodrick Tillman, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18100 (W.D. N.C. Feb. 1, 2024).  The defendant’s sentence of 30-months was reduced to 27-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The District of Kansas granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Daniel Waddell, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17801 (D. Kan. Feb. 1, 2024). The defendant’s 210-month sentence was reduced to 151-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Northern District of Indiana granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Darrell Strozier, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17748 (N.D. Ind. Feb. 1, 2024). The defendant’s 78-month sentence was reduced to 66-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of New York granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Mica Donadelle, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18125 (E.D. N.Y. Feb. 1, 2024). The defendant’s 64-month sentence was reduced to 63-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Western District of North Carolina granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Franyely Morales, 2024 U.S. Dist. Lexis 18103 (W.D. N.C. Feb. 1, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 70-months to 57-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Western District of North Carolina granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. James Norris, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17261 (W.D. N.C. Jan. 31, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 27-months to 21-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Southern District of Illinois granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Jimmy Carrasco, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15505 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 29, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 100-months to 84-months.

 

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Southern District of Illinois granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Randall Walker, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14709 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 230-months to 219-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Southern District of Illinois granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Garrick Recker, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14712 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 188-months to 112-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Southern District of Illinois granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Robert Smiley, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15522 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 57-months to 51-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Rhonda Peebles, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14317 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 90-months to time served.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Western District of Virginia granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Ralph Marlow, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14608 (W.D. Va. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 123-months to 117-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Marcos Marcano-Roman, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14315 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 37-months to time served.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. James Marable, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14309 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 144-months to 129-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Joseph Locke, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14310 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 78-months to 72-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The District of South Dakota granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Juan Herrera-Rodriguez, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16094 (D. S.D. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 121-months to time served.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Larry Hatfield, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14311 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 121-months to time served.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The District of South Dakota granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Julion Graham, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16099 (D. S.D. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 21-months to time served.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Tony Fawver, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14316 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 105-months to time served.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Andrew Farr, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14312 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 38-months to time served.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Chance England, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14308 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 57-months to 51-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. David Crowder, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14305 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 60-months to 48-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Melessa Byrge, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143014 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 121-months to 108-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The District of South Dakota granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Steven Bares, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16101 (D. S.D. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 46-months to time served.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Robert Aichele, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14313 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 30-months to 27-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Jose Valenzuela, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16466 (E.D. Calif. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 168-months to 135-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Ralph Shepherd, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16468 (E.D. Calif. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 151-months to 135-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The Eastern District of Tennessee granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Esequiel Fabela, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16495 (E.D. Calif. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 57-months to 46-months.

 

AMENDMENT 821. The District of Connecticut granted an Amendment 821 motion in United States v. Margaret Boisture, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14606 (D. Conn. Jan. 26, 2024). The defendant’s sentence was reduced from 33-months to 27-months.

 

APPEAL/RUAN. The Fourth Circuit vacated and remanded for a new trial United States v. Joel Smithers, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 2399 (4th Cir. Feb. 2, 2024). Joel Smithers, until his prosecution was a doctor of osteopathy who was convicted on 861 counts, all related to his opioid-prescription practices. He was sentenced to a total of 480-months in prison. After his conviction, the Supreme Court in Ruan v. United States, 597 U.S. 450 (2022), clarified the mens rea required to convict someone of unauthorized dispensing or distributing of a controlled substance. Because Ruan makes clear that Smithers’ jury instructions misstated the law, and because the misstatements were not harmless error, the court vacated the convictions and remanded to the district court for a new trial. The court did not reach Smithers Confrontation Clause, sufficiency-of-the-evidence, or withdrawal-of-counsel challenges.

 

APPEAL/SENTENCE. The Furth Circuit vacated and remanded United States v. Rasul Gatford, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 2235 (4th Cir. Fed. 1, 2024). Gatford challenged his criminal judgment and revocation judgment. The appeals were

consolidated. The court vacated the 14-month revocation sentence and remanded for re-sentencing, but affirmed the criminal judgment. While serving a term of supervised release for drug and firearm offenses, Gatford was arrested on new drug and firearm charges. The probation officer filed a petition asking the court to revoke Gatford’s supervised release based on his new criminal conduct. Gatford subsequently was charged and pled guilty pursuant to a written plea agreement to possession with intent to distribute cocaine base in violation of 21 USC 841(a)(1), and possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of 18 USC 922(g)(1), 924(a)(2). The district court held a joint hearing on the revocation petition and the court revoked Gatford’s term of supervised release and sentenced him to 60 months for the drug and firearm offenses and imposed a 14-months consecutive for the revocation resulting in an aggregate sentence of 74 months. Gatford argued his revocation sentence was procedurally unreasonable. He noted the district court imposed a sentence different than the one he requested but failed to offer any explanation as to why it rejected his request. During the joint sentencing/revocation hearing the district court announced that Gatford’s Sentencing Guidelines range on his new convictions was “70 to 87 months on both counts” and the policy statement range for the supervised release revocation sentence was 30 to 37 months. Gatford argued the sentence imposed upon the revocation of his supervised release was procedurally unreasonable because the court failed to sufficiently explain the sentence and failed to address his argument for a lesser sentence. The court vacated the revocation sentence and remanded for re-sentencing with instruction the district court explain its basis for choosing whatever sentence it imposes.

 

APPEAL/SENTENCE. The Fourth Circuit vacated and remanded the case of United States v. Randall Kingman, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 2400 (4th Cir. Feb. 2, 2024). Kingman plead guilty to possessing child pornography and the district court sentenced him to 60-month to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release. Kingman appealed that sentence, making several arguments. The court accepted only Kingman’s challenge to a special condition of supervision which, in relevant part, prohibits him from viewing materials that depict nudity or sexual activity. The court vacated the relevant portion of the condition and remanded for entry of a modified judgment striking the offending language.

 

 

APPEAL/SENTENCE. The Second Circuit ordered supplemental briefing in United States v. Ivan Reyes-Arzate, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 1997 (2d Cir. Jan. 30, 2024). Reyes-Arzate appealed his conviction and sentence after pleading guilty to a drug offense. He was sentenced to 120-months and four years supervised release. His defense counsel filed an Anders brief seeking to withdraw from the appeal on the basis that any appeal would be frivolous due to the defendant's plea agreement included a valid waiver of the right to appeal any sentence of 293-months or less. The Second Circuit deferred a decision on the motion to withdraw and ordered defense counsel to submit a supplemental brief. The court found the defense counsel's brief only addressed the validity of Reyes-Arzate's appeal waiver and did not discuss the scope of the waiver, particularly as it related to non-imprisonment components of the sentence such as the term and conditions of supervised release. The court clarified that when filing Anders briefs, defense counsel should address all aspects of a defendant’s conviction and sentence that are not unambiguously waived. The court deferred decision on the motions and ordered defendant’s counsel to file a supplemental brief addressing whether the non-imprisonment components of the sentence, which are not unambiguously covered by the appeal waiver present any non-frivolous issues for appeal.

 

APPEAL/SENTENCE. The Eighth Circuit vacated and remanded for re-sentencing United States v. Henry Watkins, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 1978 (8th Cir. Jan. 30, 2024). Watkins was stopped while driving by a police officer due to a mismatched license plate. Upon approaching the vehicle the officer smelled marijuana and eventually found cocaine, ecstasy, and a loaded 9-millimeter handgun in the vehicle. Watkins was the sole occupant at the time. He was subsequently indicted and convicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Watkins appealed his conviction and sentence arguing the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction and there were errors in his sentencing. The Eighth Circuit found sufficient evidence for the conviction as Watkins was the only person in the vehicle and made movements consistent with hiding the gun. The court affirmed Watkins's conviction. However, the court found procedural errors in Watkins's sentencing as the district court presumed the Guidelines range to be reasonable and adopted a sentence without considering the factors in 18 USC 3553(a). The court vacated Watkins's sentence and remanded the case for re-sentencing consistent with the opinion.

 

 

APPEAL/1983/FAILURE TO PROTECT. The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded Raul Favela v. Collier, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 2161 (5th Cir. Jan. 31, 2024). Raul Gerardo Favela, Jr. alleged prison officials had ignored warnings and failed to prevent him from being assaulted by another inmate. Favela sued several employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice under 42 USC 1983, claiming their failure to protect him violated his constitutional rights. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants stating Favela had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The Fifth Circuit reversed the decision finding summary judgment was inappropriate. Favela's declaration stated he had filed and timely submitted grievances relating to his claims was found to be sufficient to establish a genuine issue of material fact, thereby meeting his burden to counter the defendant's prima facie case. The court concluded that the matter of the credibility of Favela's statement was a matter for trial and not for summary judgment. The case was remanded for further proceedings.

 

APPEAL/1983/FIRST AMENDMENT. The Second Circuit reversed and remanded R. Anthony Rupp v. City of Buffalo, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 2113 (2d Cir. Jan. 31, 2024). The case involves an appeal by a plaintiff against the dismissal of his lawsuit against the City of Buffalo and some of its police officers. The plaintiff was arrested and charged with violating a city noise ordinance after he shouted at a police officer, who was driving without headlights to turn his lights on. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit asserting that his arrest violated his First Amendment right to free speech and amounted to false arrest and malicious prosecution. The Second Circuit found that the district court erred in ruling the plaintiff's shout was not protected by the First Amendment given it was a warning about a public safety issue. The court further concluded there were genuine issues of fact concerning whether there was probable cause to arrest the plaintiff which should have been resolved by a jury rather than at summary judgment. The court vacated the district court's judgment dismissing the plaintiff's claims of false arrest, malicious prosecution and First Amendment retaliation as well as his claims related to failure to intervene. The court affirmed the part of the district court's dismissal of the plaintiff's claim that the noise ordinance was unconstitutional as applied to him. The case was remanded for trial on the reinstated claims,

 

APPEAL/1983/DELIBERATE INDIFFERENCE. The Seventh Circuit vacated and remanded Victor Brown v. Daniel LaVoie, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 1504 (7th Cir. Jan. 25, 2024). Victor Brown is an inmate in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections has a history of self-harm. One morning while he was particularly upset, Brown forced a two-inch metal screw into his own flesh by his left elbow. The screw was embedded so deeply it could not be seen without manipulating the skin, and so a prison nurse called the prison doctor, Daniel LaVoie, to extract it. Dr. LaVoie twice tried, and twiceA failed, to extract the screw using a pair of metal-ring forceps. He did so without using any anesthetic to deaden the site. When he first informed Brown that this would be his approach, Brown protested by attempting to head-butt him. During the second attempt, Dr. LaVoie again refused to apply an anesthetic, even though Brown’s pain was obvious. The doctor poked at Brown’s arm and tried to pull on the screw for several minutes as Brown shouted in pain. He paused only to make dismissive comments such as telling Brown that he needed to change his attitude. Eventually Brown was taken to a local hospital, where staff administered an anesthetic and removed the screw painlessly and quickly. Brown claims that Dr. LaVoie was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The district court granted summary judgment to Dr. LaVoie. Although it was willing to assume that Brown had a serious medical condition, it concluded that Dr. LaVoie was not deliberately indifferent to that condition and thus did not violate Brown’s Eighth Amendment rights. For good measure the court added that in any event Dr. LaVoie was entitled to qualified immunity. The Seventh Circuit saw things differently. When the court viewed the record in the light most favorable to Brown there is a genuine dispute of material fact about Dr. LaVoie’s state of mind. The court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.

 

APPEAL/1983/DISMISSAL. The Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded a 1983 motion in Craig Bent v. Kevin Wilson, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 1820 (11th Cir. Jan. 26, 2024). Bent appealed the district court’s dismissal of his complaint alleging multiple claims under 42 USC 1983 against Kevin Wilson and Robert Riley. The district court found that, even after amending his complaint Bent had not complied with its order to correct his shotgun pleading “despite a clear directive from the Court.” Therefore, as warned in the district court’s previous order Bent’s second amended complaint was dismissed with prejudice. Bent moved for leave to file a third amended complaint which the district court denied. After careful consideration of the record, the parties’ briefs, and with the benefit of oral argument the court found reversible error in the district court’s dismissal of Bent’s complaint with prejudice. Bent argued many issues related to his complaint’s dismissal but one rises above the rest—the sanction of dismissal with prejudice. This is an extreme sanction, and we have held that dismissals with prejudice are “justified only in extreme circumstances and as a last resort.” The court found this is not an extreme circumstance and that the district court improperly imposed this extreme sanction here when sanctions less severe than dismissal with prejudice, such as attorney’s fees, would have been appropriate. However, the court left the ultimate lesser sanctions determination within the sound discretion of the district judge. The third amended complaint is not a shotgun pleading, complies with the district court’s prior directives, and sufficiently alleges a cause of action for relief. As such, this complaint will serve as the operative pleading in the case. The court reversed the district court’s dismissal of Bent’s seconded amended complaint with prejudice.

 

APPEAL/IMMIGRATION. The Eighth Circuit remanded Peter Davis v. Garland, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 2202 (8th Cir. Feb. 1, 2024). The Eighth Circuit reviewed the Board of Immigration Appeals decision to deny Peter David Davis's appeal to reopen his case. Davis, a Liberian citizen, was admitted as an asylee to the United States in 2008. However, following multiple criminal convictions his asylum status was terminated and removal proceedings were initiated. Davis conceded his removability but requested a waiver of inadmissibility for humanitarian purposes which was denied. His appeal to the BIA was also unsuccessful. On appeal Davis argued the BIA erred by not providing a reasoned explanation for its application of the motion-to-reopen standard. The Court of Appeals agreed stating that the BIA's single sentence explanation did not meet the requirements for reasoned decision-making, as it did not explain how the elements of a motion to reopen applied to Davis's case. The Court held the BIA's decision was an abuse of discretion as it was without rational explanation and failed to consider all factors presented by Davis. Consequently, the Court granted Davis's petition for review and remanded the case back to the BIA for further proceedings. The Court did not address Davis's other arguments regarding due process and competency as they were related to the request to submit new evidence which would be considered upon remand.

 

APPEAL/IMMIGRATION. The First Circuit granted the petition in the case of Ricardo Pineda-Maldonado v. Garland, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 1664 (1st Cir. Jan. 24, 2024). Pineda-Maldonado is a native and citizen of El Salvador who sought review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals that denied his application for asylum and claims for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture. He entered the United States without inspection in 2016 following threats and physical harm from "cattle thieves" who had previously murdered his father over a gambling-related financial debt. The cattle thieves subsequently targeted Pineda-Maldonado and his brother for the father's debt and out of fear they would seek reprisals for their father's murder. The First Circuit determined the BIA's denial of Pineda-Maldonado's claims was not supported by substantial evidence and failed to adequately assess the evidence presented. The court found the BIA had failed to consider whether the threats Pineda-Maldonado received constituted past or potential future torture and failed to find the required nexus between the persecution Pineda-Maldonado experienced and his family status. The court granted the petition, vacated the BIA's decision, and remanded the case for further proceedings.

17 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

SAMARITAN NEWSLETTER – 05-20-2024

The Law Office of Tom Norrid SAMARITAN PROJECTS LLC P.O. Box 9244 Springfield, MO 65801-9244 417-236-1179 The SAMARITAN-PROJECTS prepares post-conviction and compassionate release motions along with a

SAMARITAN NEWSLETTER – 05-14-2024

The Law Office of Tom Norrid SAMARITAN PROJECTS LLC P.O. Box 9244 Springfield, MO 65801-9244 417-236-117 The SAMARITAN-PROJECTS prepares post-conviction and compassionate release motions along with ap

Comments


bottom of page