Friday, September 01, 2006

US v. Arellano-Ochoa, No. 04-30545 (8-31-06). This is an open and shut case....literally. Police came to a trailer, for a little chat (knock and talk) because of suspicions of the presence of illegal aliens. The trailer's screen door was closed; it was half metal and half screen. The door behind it was open. The officers went up the steps to knock, when a man appeared, swung the door almost shut, and dodged, and shut the blinds. the officers opened the door, and saw a gun on the floor of the doorjamb, shouted "gun" and went on a protective sweep. Evidence was found of drug dealing. The defendant raised a 4th amend. motion, The 9th (Kleinfeld) reviews the jurisprudence of screen doors, when they are protective (summer) or not (winter). The 9th recognizes that the screen door does act as a screen for the home, and there is privacy interests. Here, though, there were exigent circumstance because of the furtive movements of the man, and the quick dodge raised the possibility of danger to the officers, and others. The opening was justified.

US v. Covian-Sandoval, No. 05-50543 (8-31-06). The 9th (Nelson) reviews a plea colloquy was that somewhat light on the facts and charge for a 1326. The review though was for plain error, and none was found. Under Rule 11, the court has to make sure the defendant knows what the charge is, and understands the nature of the offense. The court met the first part (informing) but not the second. However, the elements were read, the defendant exhibited no confusion as to other parts of the plea, counsel was present, and the charge was read. The 9th holds that the defendant adequately possessed an understanding, and the intent of Rule 11 was meant under the plain error standard.

Sass v. California Bd of Prison Terms, No. 05-16455 (8-31-06). The 9th (Goodwin) finds that the denial of parole was not in violation of any Supreme Court ruling, and the rulings were a reasonable application. Reinhardt dissented, sadly commenting that his colleagues ("able jurists" would one day rue their decision, involving a parolee whose parole was denied because a history of extensive past alcoholism apparently made him a present danger, and the lack of finding that his conviction for 2nd degree homicide was more cruel or callous than other 2nd degrees..


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