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Case Law Update

Comprehensive summaries of recent court decisions in criminal law, including search and seizure law, federal sentencing guidelines and the law of governmental immunity. The legal update is written by a lawyer, but without all the legal jargon, so you can stay on top of legal developments in the criminal law arena that affect your job.

Title Published Date Author
Federal Employee Kills Spouse and Self Leading to Inheritance Dispute at MSPB 10 April 2014 FEDagent
Supreme Court Decision Expands Class of People Disqualified From Carrying Firearms Due to Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Convictions 03 April 2014 FEDagent
Eighth Circuit Held Defendant Had No Expectation Of Privacy To A Plastic Bag Inside A Discarded Refrigerator In An Open Field That His Aunt And Uncle Owned 27 March 2014 FEDagent
Supreme Court: Conviction For Aiding And Abetting Use Of Firearm In Drug Trafficking Or Violent Crimes Requires Abettor’s Advanced Knowledge Of Firearm And Voluntary Participation In Crime, But Not Encouragement or Facilitation Of Firearm Use 20 March 2014 FEDagent
The U.S. Supreme Court Heard Oral Arguments to Decide Whether Police Officers Who Were Involved in a High Speed Car Chase And Used Deadly Force in Pursuit of Unarmed Defendants Are Entitled to Qualified Immunity 13 March 2014 FEDagent
Supreme Court Holds that Nevada District Court Has No Personal Jurisdiction over DEA Defendant Who Seized Funds in Georgia 06 March 2014 FEDagent
Supreme Court: A Prior Objection To A Residential Search By An Arrestee Who Is No Longer Present Does Not Invalidate Consent To Search Given By Another Resident 27 February 2014 FEDagent
Third Circuit: Four Day Seizure of Parcel Was Reasonable; In Joint Federal-State Law Enforcement Actions, State Law Enforcement Officers Can Sometimes Seek Warrants from a State Magistrate, Rather than a Federal or State Judge 20 February 2014 FEDagent
Eighth Circuit Held That An Eight Minute Delay After Officer Issued Traffic Warning, Caused By A K9 Sniff, Did Not Violate Driver’s Fourth Amendment Right To Be Free From Unreasonable Seizures 14 February 2014 FEDagent
Tenth Circuit Finds Improper Seizure of Firearm to Be De Minimis Infringement on Property Rights not Warranting Suppression of Firearms Evidence 06 February 2014 FEDagent
The Supreme Court Will Decide When Police Can Act On An Anonymous Tip Of Dangerous Driving Without Violating the Fourth Amendment 30 January 2014 FEDagent
En Banc Ninth Circuit Holds that Erratic Driving Plus Other Factors Can Combine to Create Reasonable Suspicion for Federal Law Enforcement Officers to Stop a Vehicle 23 January 2014 FEDagent
Eight Circuit Held No Fourth Amendment Violation Because of Exigent Circumstances of a Gunshot Heard From the Residence Where Police Conducted A Twenty-Five Minute Protective Sweep of Defendant's Residence 16 January 2014 FEDagent
Tenth Circuit Holds That Concealed Carrying OF Firearm Can Create Reasonable Suspicion to Stop and Frisk 09 January 2014 FEDagent
Eighth Circuit Found No Fourth Amendment Violation Where Minor Took Defendant’s Personal Computer Without Permission To The Police Station To Show Police That Defendant Had Child Pornography On His Computer 02 January 2014 FEDagent
Fourth Circuit Finds that Individual in Police-Dominated Environment “Grudgingly Submitted” to an Officer’s Direction, but Did Not Consent to a Search 19 December 2013 FEDagent
The Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Secret Service Agents Have Immunity When Protecting the President From Demonstrators (Non-Supporters of the President) by Keeping Them Farther Away From the President than the Supporters 13 December 2013 FEDagent
Ninth Circuit Finds that DEA Agents Unreasonably Relied Upon Consent of House Guest to Search Residence 05 December 2013 FEDagent
The Seventh Circuit Held That “Accidental Entry,” When Police Broke Through Door Of Wrong Address, Was Not Considered A Search. 21 November 2013 FEDagent
D.C. Circuit Finds that a Warrant to Place a Recording Device Outside of Authorizing Judge's Jurisdiction Was Invalid 15 November 2013 FEDagent
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Decided the Issue of Whether the Lower Court Erred in Denying the Defendant-Appellee's Motion Suppress Evidence (A Gun) That Police Found in His Unlocked Glove Compartment During an Inventory Search 07 November 2013 FEDagent
En Banc Ninth Circuit Holds that a Law Enforcement Officer’s Contact with the Union, an Outside Agency, and Internal Affairs Might be Protected First Amendment Speech, for which an Employee May Not be Disciplined 31 October 2013 FEDagent
District Judge Dismisses Prisoner's FTCA and Bivens Claims Made After Prisoner Was Struck by a Medical Cart Being Driven By Prison Medical Employees 24 October 2013 FEDagent
Seventh Circuit Found Police Search Unlawful and Held that When Responding to an Emergency 911 Call, Officers May Use the Report, Itself, to Justify a Terry Stop, Provided That the Report Describes an Ongoing Emergency, As Opposed to General Criminality 17 October 2013 FEDagent
Eleventh Circuit Holds that Officers May Pursue Suspect into a Home for Pushing an Officer 11 October 2013 FEDagent
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Reversed District Court's Grant of a Suppression Motion in a Case in Which Officers Found 3,400 Electronic Images and 632 Electronic Videos of Commercial Child Pornography Pursuant to a Warrant Authorizing a 03 October 2013 FEDagent
Sixth Circuit Holds that Constitution Was Violated When Police Accompanied A Suspect to a Hospital so that Medical Staff Would Temporarily Paralyze the Subject in Order to Perform a Warrantless, Nonconsensual Cavity Search 26 September 2013 FEDagent
Ninth Circuit Finds that a Suspect's Consent for Officers to Inspect a Cell Phone Does not Include Permission for Officers to Answer Phone Calls 19 September 2013 FEDagent
Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments to Decide Whether a Defendant Must Be Present and Objecting When Police Ask a Co-tenant for Consent to Search Premises 05 September 2013 FEDagent
Second Circuit Suppresses Discovery of Nine Firearms Where Officers and Prosecutors Intentionally Avoided Seeking a Warrant Prior to Entering an Occupied Motel Room 29 August 2013 FEDagent

Contest Corner

Win A Free Full Conference Pass to GovSec 2014

Want to win a FREE ticket to the nation's premiere government security, law enforcement and homeland security expo and conference?

GovSec 2014 is the only event that brings together everything you need to be ready when it counts. This year's conference runs from May 13-15 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.

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Takedowns

Justice Department Announces First Ever Successful Extradition on Antitrust Charge

Last week the Justice Department announced the first ever successfully litigated extradition on an antitrust charge.

Romano Pisciotti, an Italian national, was extradited from Germany on a charge of participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by rigging bids, fixing prices and allocating market shares for sales of marine hose sold in the United States and elsewhere, according to the Justice Department press release.

Pisciotti arrived last week in the Southern District of Florida, in Miami, and appeared before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Ft. Lauderdale.

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GEICO's Good Stuff

OPM Retirement Backlog Shrank in March

GEICO’s Good Stuff is a column series highlighting great stuff happening in the federal community.

The number of backlogged retirement claims at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) fell in March, as the agency was able to process more claims than it took in.

According to new figures from OPM, the backlog of unprocessed claims stood at 18,573 at the end of March, down from 23,554 at the end of February.

The agency expects the overall claims backlog to trend downward over the next few months, but still has thousands of unprocessed claims pending after sequestration and cuts to overtime slowed the process last year.

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Case Law Update

Federal Employee Kills Spouse and Self Leading to Inheritance Dispute at MSPB

A federal employee covered under the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (“FERS”) designated his wife as his only beneficiary for any contributions to his retirement account that were payable at his death. The employee and his wife did not have children together, but both had adult children from previous relationships. On October 15, 2011, the employee killed his wife and then, apparently, took his own life as well. The employee’s wife’s son, on behalf of her estate, applied for a lump-sum credit based on the employee’ service, but the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) denied the application, finding that the employee’s wife predeceased the employee, meaning that because she died before the employee, she could not come into possession (as a beneficiary) of any contributions to his retirement account payable at death. OPM found that the employee’s children, rather than the employee’s wife’s children, were the beneficiaries of the lump-sum benefit. The wife’s estate appealed to the MSPB, and an MSPB administrative judge applied Virginia’s Slayer Statute to find that the employee, because he was the “slayer,” legally predeceased his wife, and therefore the wife’s estate was entitled to the lump-sum benefit. OPM petitioned the full Board for review, and on April 1, 2014, the Board reversed the initial decision and affirmed OPM’s final decision denying the application.

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