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Decisions in Immigration, Civil Rights, Criminal and Insurance Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on April 28, 2010 4:00 PM

In Chen v. Holder, No. 08-2836, the Seventh Circuit dealt with the BIA's affirmance of Immigration Judge's denial of a Chinese national's application for asylum and related relief, claiming that he has been or will be persecuted because of his family's resistance to China's one-child policy and his membership in social groups that include his family and the hei haizi.  In granting the petition, the court held that the agency's analysis of the asylum claim was incomplete as the BIA failed to address petitioner's claim of past persecution based on imputed political opinion, and BIA also failed to consider the cumulative significance of the hardships visited upon petitioner and his family and the future hardships he would face if returned. 

Nat'l Cas. Co. v. McFatridge, No. 09-1497, concerned a county and its former state's attorney's suit seeking defense and indemnification in an underlying suit by an individual convicted of murder in 1986 later overturned in 2003.  In affirming the district court's holding that the insurer had no obligation to defend or indemnify, the court held that the county's obligation to pay judgments against the former state's attorney or the state attorney's office under section 10/9-102 is not an occurrence or accident as defined by the policies, and there was no duty to defend or indemnify the county.

US v. Diekemper, No.09-2081, involved a conviction of a husband and wife for conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, making false statements for the purpose of influencing the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation, and perjury.  In affirming the district court's within-guidelines sentence of 120 months in prison upon the husband after applying a four-level enhancement, the court rejected defendant's various contentions to his sentence, including his claim that his wife's probation condition (prohibiting her from having any contact with her husband) violates his fundamental right to a marital relationship.

US v. Sanchez, No.09-2666, concerned a challenge to a conviction of an El Salvadoran national and citizen for drug related crime, claiming that the trial court abused its discretion in preventing defendant from arguing during closing argument that he was never properly removed from the U.S. because he was sent to Mexico instead of El Salvador.  In affirming the conviction, the court held that the district court correctly determined at the hearing during trial that the location to which defendant was removed is irrelevant to the ultimate determination of whether he violated 8.U.S.C. section 1326(a), for illegal reentry. 

In Mercado v. Dart, No. 09-3092, the court faced a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's mid-trial Rule 50 motion in a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit brought by a class of inmates claiming, inter alia, that the sheriff and his staff have subjected them to needlessly humiliating strip searches.  However, trial court's denial of the motion is not appealable as a "collateral order" under section 1291 and this appeal must be dismissed anyway because it is substantively frivolous. 

Levan v. George, No. 09-3223, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of county sheriff deputies' motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity in plaintiff's suit for false arrest and excessive use of force, arising from arrest of plaintiff for disorderly conduct.  However, because it is readily apparent that the question of qualified immunity turns on genuine issues of material fact, the case is dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction. 

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