Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Juvenile Law
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Defendant appealed his conviction for conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), as well as narcotics-conspiracy and firearm-possession charges related to his membership in the 10th Street Gang of Buffalo, New York. Defendant, who was seventeen years old at the time, participated in a double murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.The Second Circuit rejected defendant's challenges to the introduction into evidence of a gun seized from his home; the denial of his motion for a mistrial based on a Bruton violation; the denial of his Batson challenges, and the denial of his requests for certain jury charges. However, the court held that the district court imposed defendant's sentence without explicitly considering his age at the time of the double murders, and thus violated the principle recognized in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 471 (2012), that children are constitutionally different from adults for purposes of sentencing. Miller stated that those under the age of eighteen are different because the distinctive attributes of youth diminish the penological justifications for imposing the harshest sentences on juvenile offenders, even when they commit terrible crimes. Therefore, the court affirmed defendant's conviction but vacated his sentence, remanding for resentencing in light of Miller. View "United States v. Delgado" on Justia Law

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Sellers was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition under 26 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1) and under 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(1) of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). The Second Circuit remanded for resentencing. Application of the ACCA was error. Sellers’s 2001 state conviction for criminal sale of a controlled substance did not qualify as one of the “three previous convictions” necessary to apply the ACCA because he was adjudicated as a youthful offender for that offense under New York law, 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(1). The youthful offender designation “set aside” the conviction. View "United States v. Sellers" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, former students of Ithaca High School, claimed that defendants violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by prohibiting the publication of a sexually-explicit cartoon in the Ithaca High School student newspaper ("IHS newspaper") and by prohibiting the on-campus distribution of an independent student newspaper containing the same cartoon. At issue was whether the district court erred in holding that the IHS newspaper was a limited public forum. The court concluded that the IHS newspaper was a limited public form and held that defendants lawfully prohibited the publication of the sexually-explicit cartoon pursuant to the standards for regulation of speech set forth in Bethel School District Number 403 v. Fraser and Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier. The court also held that defendants lawfully prohibited the on-campus distribution of the sexually-explicit cartoon in an independent student newspaper pursuant to Fraser and that the court need not reach the question of whether defendants' prohibition of the on-campus distribution of the independent student newspaper was lawful under Tinker v. DesMoines Indep. Cmty. Scho. Dist.