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Challenge to Air Force Court-Martial and Other Civil Rights and Criminal Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on May 07, 2010 11:07 AM

Allen v. US Air Force, No. 08-3450, concerned an action against the Air Force and nineteen individuals in the district court for the District of North Dakota, claiming that plaintiff's Sixth Amendment speedy trial rights were violated in a court-martial.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendants, holding that: 1) the military court fully and fairly considered the issue of whether the charges preferred against plaintiff on February 18, 2004, were dismissed by the general court-martial convening authority on August 27, 2004; 2) even if plaintiff was correct that the military court should have included the entire period from the first preferral of charge and specifications in February 2004, to the court-martial in March 2006, in its speedy trial analysis, plaintiff still would not be entitled to relief under the Sixth Amendment for violation of his speedy trial rights.

In US v. Garcia, No. 09-1596, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's sentence for failing to register as a sex offender, holding that 1) defendant was, at all times, properly informed of the correct potential term of ten years' incarceration for his offense; 2) defendant failed to object to the presentence report statements that differed from the advice he previously received; and 3) it was reasonable to infer that Garcia desired to avoid detection by law enforcement ultimately to avoid any of the countless burdens attendant to registration.

In US v. Cook, No. 09-1901, the Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for unlawful possession of ammunition as a convicted felon, on the grounds that 1) considering the evidence as a whole, the court could not say that no reasonable jury could have found Cook guilty; and 2) although it appeared that the district court mistakenly referred to the earlier version of an instruction, the instructions as a whole were not plainly erroneous.

Nelson v. Shuffman, No. 09-2225, involved an action under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 alleging thirteen officials at the Missouri Sexual Offender Treatment Center violated plaintiff's constitutional rights.  The court of appeals affirmed the denial of summary judgment to defendants on the grounds that 1) it was readily apparent that plaintiff faced an objectively serious risk of harm by being placed in a room with another sex offender; 2) a reasonable jury could find that defendants recklessly disregarded an objectively serious risk of harm to plaintiff by placing him in the same room as the assailant; 3) based on the evidence described by the district court, a jury could conclude plaintiff had a serious medical need and defendant deliberately disregarded the need by failing to provide psychological treatment she prescribed; and 4) the facts found by the district court provided sufficient evidence for a jury to conclude that plaintiff's transfer was causally related to his exercise of his right to file the abuse and neglect charge and the grievances.

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