Torres v. Holder

Petitioner, a native and citizen of the Dominican Republic, was convicted of attempted arson in the third degree in violation of New York Penal Law sections 110 and 150.10. Petitioner claimed that his conviction is not an aggravated felony rendering him statutorily ineligible for cancellation of removal. Applying Chevron deference, the court deferred to the BIA's reasonable determination that a state "offense described in" 18 U.S.C. 844(i) need not contain a federal jurisdictional element. Accordingly, the court denied the petition. View "Torres v. Holder" on Justia Law

Lin v. Holder

Petitioner, a native and citizen of China, appealed the BIA's affirmance of the IJ's declaration that his petition was untimely. At issue was whether political activity first undertaken in the United States amounts to "changed circumstances" for purposes of the asylum provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1158. Petitioner argued that his new China Democratic Party World Union (CDPWU) membership and his criticism of the Chinese Communist Party, made on the CDPWU website and in public spaces, had produced such changed circumstances because officials in China can see his public words and affiliation, and they may persecute him for them. The court concluded that the IJ and BIA have committed an error of law on the changed circumstances issue where their conclusion is in tension with a controlling DOJ regulatory interpretation of the asylum provision and their decision constitutes an unexplained, and therefore impermissible, departure from prior agency precedent. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review and remanded for further proceedings. View "Lin v. Holder" on Justia Law

Doe v. Holder

Petitioner, a native and citizen of Ghana, pled guilty to an information including a count related to his heroin smuggling activities. Petitioner then cooperated with federal agents to arrange a controlled delivery of the heroin to another individual in this country. Petitioner sought relief under the protection of witnesses provision of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (CATOC), T.I.A.S. 13127, 2225 U.N.T.S. 209. The court held that the protection of witnesses provision was not self-executing and the relief petitioner sought could not be enforced by the BIA, the district court, or this court. View "Doe v. Holder" on Justia Law

United States v. Erie County

This case concerns compliance reports regarding improving conditions in two correctional facilities under a settlement agreement between the United States and Erie County. The NYCLU sought to intervene in order to have the reports unsealed. The court held that the public's fundamental right of access to judicial documents, guaranteed by the First Amendment, was wrongly denied when the compliance reports in this case were sealed. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's decision and ordered that the judicial documents be unsealed. View "United States v. Erie County" on Justia Law

Alvarez v. Ercole

Petitioner, convicted of murder and sentenced to 45 years' imprisonment, was granted a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2254 based on his Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause right. The trial court prohibited petitioner from cross-examining a lead detective to show that the police had not investigated leads provided by a witness whose tips were memorialized in a detective's notes and an investigative DD5 report. The court concluded that, taken together, the trial court's evidentiary rulings unreasonably applied clearly established Sixth Amendment law and drastically impaired petitioner's ability to present that defense. The error was not harmless because there was no forensic evidence tying petitioner to the crime. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Alvarez v. Ercole" on Justia Law

Parkcentral v. Porsche

Plaintiffs, international hedge funds, filed suit alleging violations of U.S. securities laws because defendants made various fraudulent statements and took various manipulative actions to deny and conceal Porsche's intention to take over Volkswagen AG (VW), a German corporation. The securities transactions upon which plaintiffs brought suit were so-called "securities-based swap agreements" relating to the stock of VW. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint because the swaps were essentially transactions in securities on foreign exchanges. The court affirmed on the basis of different reasoning, concluding that the imposition of liability under section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b), on these foreign defendants with no alleged involvement in plaintiffs' transactions, on the basis of defendants' largely foreign conduct, for losses incurred by plaintiffs in securities-based swap agreements based on the price movements of foreign securities would constitute an impermissibly extraterritorial extension of the statute. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Parkcentral v. Porsche" on Justia Law

Central Rabbinical Congress v. NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene

Plaintiffs filed suit challenging section 181.21 of the New York City Health Code, which regulates metzitzah b'peh, the direct oral suction of the circumcision wound of an infant as a part of a bris milah. Plaintiffs argued that the Regulation compelled speech and burdened their free exercise of religion in violation of the First Amendment. The court agreed with the district court that the Regulation does not compel speech. However, the court concluded that the Regulation is neither neutral nor generally applicable and therefore must satisfy strict scrutiny. The Regulation is not neutral because it purposefully and exclusively targets a religious practice for special burdens and the Regulation is not generally applicable because it is underinclusive in relation to its asserted secular goals. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's denial of plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction and remanded for the district court to consider whether plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits applying strict scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause. View "Central Rabbinical Congress v. NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene" on Justia Law

Maldonado v. Holder

Petitioners sought review of the BIA's dismissal of their appeals from decisions of the IJ and denial of their motions to remand and reopen. Petitioners were among persons gathered in a park to seek work as day laborers. The police department and ICE were jointly conducting a sting operation. Petitioners entered an unmarked vehicle driven by an undercover officer and were transported to a parking lot and arrested. During processing, petitioners made incriminating statements about their alienage. The IJ denied petitioners' motions to hold suppression hearings, suppress evidence, and terminate removal proceedings. The court concluded that petitioners failed to state egregious Fourth Amendment violations; the ordinary exclusionary rule does not apply in a civil deportation hearing; the BIA properly concluded that petitioners failed to assert egregious pre-hearing regulatory violations by ICE agents; and the BIA did not err in denying petitioners' motions to remand and to reopen. Accordingly, the court denied the petitions for review. View "Maldonado v. Holder" on Justia Law

Liu v. Siemens AG

Plaintiff, a citizen and resident of Taiwan, filed suit alleging that by firing him Siemens had violated the antiretaliation provision of the Dodd-Frank Act, 15 U.S.C. 78u-6(h)(1)(A). The court concluded that the district court properly dismissed the complaint because legislation is presumed to apply only domestically unless there is evidence Congress intended otherwise; (2) there is no indication Congress intended the whistleblower protection provision to have extraterritorial application; and (3) the facts in the complaint unequivocally demonstrate that applying the statute in this case would constitute an extraterritorial application. Therefore, section 78u-6(h) does not protect a foreign worker employed abroad by a foreign corporation where all events related to the disclosures occurred abroad. View "Liu v. Siemens AG" on Justia Law

Jackson v. Conway

The state appealed the magistrate judge's grant of habeas corpus relief and petitioner, convicted of repeatedly raping his wife, ex-wife, and daughter, cross-appealed those portions of the decision adverse to him. The court agreed with the magistrate judge that the Fourth Department's rejection of petitioner's Miranda claim constituted an objectively unreasonable application of Supreme Court precedent. The court held that the admission of petitioner's statements had a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the jury's verdict as to the count's involving the daughter. Therefore, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court insofar as it: (1) granted petitioner habeas relief on his Miranda claim as to the counts of conviction involving the daughter; and (2) denied petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claims premised on counsel's failure to conduct an adequate pretrial investigation and introduce the laboratory reports and DNA tests at trial. The court affirmed in part and reversed in part. View "Jackson v. Conway" on Justia Law