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Decisions on Criminal Matters Plus an FMLA Violation Claim

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By FindLaw Staff on April 02, 2010 4:25 PM

The Seventh Circuit decided two criminal matters involving issues of whether a death-row inmate is competent to participate in habeas proceedings and a defendant's challenge to his conviction for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  Lastly, the court decided a plaintiff's wrongful termination claim against her former employer under the FMLA.

Holmes v. Levenhagen, No. 04-3549, involved a challenge to a district court's determination that a defendant, convicted of first degree murders and sentenced to death, is competent to participate in the habeas proceeding.  In reversing that determination, the court remanded the matter with instructions to suspend the habeas proceedings unless and until the state provides substantial evidence that defendant's psychiatric illness has abated, or that its symptoms are sufficiently controlled, before resumption of the proceeding can be justified.

US v. Doody, No. 09-3078, involved a challenge to a conviction for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 924(c).  In rejecting defendant's argument that his conduct did not violate the section because he possessed the firearm as collateral to secure a drug debt, the court affirmed his conviction in holding that the defendant took possession of the firearm in a way that facilitated a drug transaction. 

In Bailey v. Pregis Innovative Packaging, Inc., No. 09-3539, the court faced a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer in plaintiff's suit under the Family and Medical Leave Act.  In affirming the district court's conclusion, the court first rejected plaintiff's argument that she is entitled to toll the 12-month period for the 56 days during the period in which she was on FMLA leave, as there is no basis for such a contortion of the statute.  Next, the court rejected plaintiff's retaliation claim for taking FMLA leave as the employer's no-fault attendance policy is lawful and the plaintiff has not demonstrated a strong commitment to work for her employer to wipe an absence off her record under the policy. 

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