U.S. First Circuit - The FindLaw 1st Circuit Court of Appeals News and Information Blog

May 2013 Archives

Political Asylum May Protect Lawyer's Link to Political Client

A former lawyer in Pakistan who overstayed his U.S. visa was denied his political asylum petition for withholding of removal and his Convention Against Torture petition by both an immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals. The First Circuit granted, in part, his petition for witholding of removal and remanded it to the BIA for further proceedings. However, his CAT petition was denied for lack of evidence of torture.

Mohammed Ilyas Javed was a lawyer in Pakistan representing a local political party, the Hunj group. Some members of the group were injured in a shooting involving another local party, the Batore group. These groups were subsidiaries of the ruling national Pakistan party. The two groups were in a dispute over a supposed rigged election. Javed soon experienced threats and harm based on the mistaken affiliation to the Hunj group.

Can Police Search a Seized Cell Phone Without a Warrant?

Seized cell phones are safe from a warrantless search by police, the First Circuit recently held. The court ruled that a police cell phone search for data is not constitutional when a person is arrested unless officers get a warrant first.

For Brima Wurie, his cell phone was the one important item that was searched by police officers the evening he was arrested for possessing crack cocaine. Because police looked through his seized cell phone without a warrant, they knew to search Wurie's house, where they found 215 grams of cocaine -- a huge difference from the 3.5 grams found in his possession.

Prosecution in Ex-Mobster Case Wants Jury Background Checks

Imagine being called into a jury and then being asked to submit your fingerprints or social security for your jury background check. Who…me?

Is this an government overreach for people merely serving on a jury? The federal prosecutors against notorious ex-mobster James “Whitey” Bulger don’t think so. They want juror background checks to be done.

1st Circuit OK's Denial of Rent Increases for Section 8

The years of automatic rent payment increases may be over for landlords. With the last housing market collapse, landlords may be denied their annual rental payment increases for their Section 8 housing units. Even though their contract with MHA may state they will get these increases automatically every year, the contract may have a limitation clause within it that allows MHA to deny increases should it lead to a windfall for landlords.

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has affirmed that MHA properly denied landlords their "otherwise-automatic" annual payment increases. It's all written in their housing assistance payment contracts with the landlord plaintiffs.

In 2003, Gary Lee Sampson was convicted of killing three people in Massachusetts and sentenced to death under a federal carjacking law. Before the execution could take place, however, a Massachusetts federal district court ordered a new sentencing trial based on evidence that a juror had lied during the selection process. Federal prosecutors appealed.

On Wednesday, prosecutors went before a First Circuit panel, arguing that the juror's potential bias is not enough to void Sampson's death sentence, The Boston Globe reports. While questions of jurisdiction were raised, the panel members indicated that they might invoke their authority to hear extraordinary cases under advisory mandamus in order to settle the matter.

Fool Represents Self, Reported Guns Stolen with Fake ID

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done lately? Whatever it is, it probably doesn’t compare to the losing streak that is the life of Roldy Francois, a former (and present) felon.

Francois appropriated the identification of Efrain Baez, whose social security card and birth certificate were stolen, along with his briefcase. He then obtained a Florida driver’s license, which was used to purchase firearms, go to shooting ranges, to receive a speeding ticket, and even in the occasional social situation.

That’s all garden-variety stupid — the sort of idiocy associated with your everyday criminal.