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Denial of Habeas Relief in Capital Murder Matter Affirmed, and Criminal and Trademark Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on July 21, 2010 11:45 AM

In US v. Cruz, No. 09-11418, an action by the government seeking to enjoin defendants from operating as tax return preparers, the court of appeals vacated the district court's order finding that defendants had engaged in deceptive practices in preparing tax returns and issuing an injunction specifically prohibiting them from further engaging in any such conduct, but declining to completely bar them from operating as tax return preparers or require them to notify their clients of the injunction (as the government requested), holding that the district court failed to give any reasons for rejecting the request to compel defendants to notify their customers of the court's injunction.

In Allen v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., No. 09-13217, the court of appeals affirmed the denial of habeas relief in capital proceedings, holding that 1) petitioner failed to convince the court that any of the undisclosed lab reports at issue were favorable to the defense at all; 2) the state collateral trial court's decision that counsel did not perform deficiently was not contrary to or an unreasonable application of Strickland; and 3) counsel was not ineffective for failing to request a Frye hearing before the state's DNA evidence was admitted.

In Tana v. Dantanna's, No. 09-15123, a trademark infringement action concerning two restaurants, situated on opposite sides of the country, that shared very similar names, the court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant on the ground that plaintiff did not adduce sufficient evidence giving rise to a genuine issue of material fact on the issue of likelihood of confusion or defendants' knowing appropriation of his likeness.

In US v. Belfast, No. 09-10461, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's convictions and sentence for committing numerous acts of torture and other atrocities in Liberia between 1999 and 2003, during the presidency of his father, Charles Taylor, holding that 1) the United States validly adopted the Convention Against Torture pursuant to the President's Article II treaty-making authority, and it was well within Congress's power under the Necessary and Proper Clause to criminalize both torture, as defined by the Torture Act, and conspiracy to commit torture; 2) both the Torture Act and the firearm statute apply to extraterritorial conduct; and 3) it was the totality of the circumstances, not simply the length of time that passed between the event and the statement, that determines whether a hearsay statement was an excited utterance.

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