Tuesday, September 21, 2010

U.S. v. Begay, No. 09-10249 (9-20-10) (Bybee with Schroeder and Gonzalez, D.J.). This is a SORNA case. Specifically, whether defendants who moved to the Navajo Indian Reservation still had to register as sex offenders with the State of Arizona. The defendants argue that the legislation made the Navajo Nation responsible, and because it had not yet established a sex offender registry, the defendant was unable to comply. The 9th recognized this as a close question, but chose a reading of the SORNA statute that requires a sex offender to register in each jurisdiction in which he lives, works, and/or goes to school, rather than just the relevant jurisdiction, which would be the tribe. (For disclosure, this case arose from the FPD office in the D. Ariz.).

U.S. v. Morsette, No. 09-30373 (9-20-10) (per curiam with Reinhardt, Graber, and Paez). This concerns the self-defense instruction. The defendant used a baton in a fight in his house. He said that he defending himself from threats from his two drunk friends and family members. The victims said they were not threatening the defendant, but leaving when attacked. The defendant was convicted of simple assault. His appeal goes to whether the district required to give a self-defense instruction which stated that "In the home, the need for self-defense and property defense is most acute." The defendant premised this instruction on Heller and McDonald, the Second Amendment cases, because each stressed defense of home and hearth. The 9th concluded that there was no error. The standard self-defense instruction worked quite well, and was sufficient.

Souliotes v. Evans, No. 08-15943 (McKeown with Hall; Zilly, D.J., partially concurs and partially dissents). The petitioner argues that new scientific evidence of an arson fires proves his innocence. The 9th remands the denial of his petition for a hearing on whether an inmate in the petitioner's position could have reasonably uncovered the new evidence with reasonable or due diligence. The 9th holds though that his other claims were time barred under AEDPA (five days late because of a miscalculation). The 9th holds there was not equitable tolling, simply mere negligence on the part of counsel (!), and that precedent slams shut the any AEDPA innocence gateway. In dissent, Zilly would allow all the claims to proceed if petitioner could show that he meets the Schlup threshold test.

U.S. v. Edwards, No. 08-30055 (9-20-10) (Dissent from denial of en banc, Gould with Bybee, Callahan, and Bea). In this dissent from an en banc to reconsider a white-collar sentencing, Gould et al accuse their brethren from ignoring too lenient sentences in a reasonable review, especially when it comes to white collar crimes. The dissent thinks that white collar offenders get off too easy, and that the whole court should look at the standards for white collar sentences.


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