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Criminal And Employment Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on April 09, 2010 1:15 PM

Edwards v. Prime Inc., No. 09-11699, involved an action under RICO and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claiming that defendant restaurant franchise knowingly provided illegal aliens with names and social security numbers of American citizens to use for illegal employment, unlawfully took employees' tips, discriminated on the basis of race, and retaliated against employees who challenged those and other practices.  The court of appeals affirmed in part the dismissal of certain counts of the complaint where 1) plaintiffs failed to plead that defendants had actual knowledge that the unauthorized aliens who they allegedly hired had been "brought into the United States" in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 1324; 2) plaintiffs' mere use of the words "conspiracy" and "aiding and abetting" without any more explanation of the grounds of plaintiffs' entitlement to relief was insufficient; 3) the complaint did not plausibly allege that plaintiff was harassed because he was Caucasian; and 4) defendants were not strangers to the business relationships with which they allegedly interfered, and thus plaintiffs failed to state a tortious interference claim.  However, the court reversed in part, holding that the amended complaint adequately pleaded that defendants encouraged or induced an alien to reside in the United States, and either knew or recklessly disregarded the fact that the alien's residence here was illegal, in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv).

In Powell v. Allen, No. 08-16784, a capital habeas matter, the court of appeals affirmed the denial of the petition, holding that 1) the method by which petitioner's judge selected his grand jury foreperson did not make out a prima facie violation of the Equal Protection Clause; 2) petitioner failed to show that the jury selection process resulted in a non-representative venire; 3) the record did not support petitioner's Batson claim; 4) the trial judge retained discretion as to the form and number of questions on the subject of race, including the decision whether to question the venire individually or collectively; 5) petitioner pointed to no record evidence, nor did the court's review of the record revealed any, from which the allegedly true DNA test results could be found; and 6) petitioner failed to allege what mitigating factors would have been established but for his counsel's deficient performance.

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