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Decisions in Criminal Matters and Benefits Determination for Long-Term Disability Benefits Upheld

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By FindLaw Staff on April 06, 2010 2:35 PM

Goff v. Bagley, No. 06-4669, involved a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's request for habeas relief from his capital murder convictions.  In reversing the denial, the court granted a conditional writ of habeas corpus as defendant's appellate counsel was ineffective as he failed to raise on direct appeal the issue of defendant's right to allocution before sentencing, and the opposite conclusion reached by the Ohio Supreme Court is an unreasonable application of federal law.  Defendant's remaining claims are rejected including, most noteably, the jury instructions regarding "acquit-first" and unanimity in mitigation factors, as the jury instructions and verdict forms utilized at trial are conceptually indistinguishable from those at issue in Spisak III.

US v. Everett, No. 09-5111, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress a gunshot found in his vehicle during a traffic stop in convicting defendant for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  At issue was whether the officer's questioning on a subject unrelated to defendant's traffic offense and voluntarily answered by the defendant, violated the  Fourth Amendment.  In affirming district court's denial of the motion, the court held that the questions about whether defendant had weapons, drugs or any illegal items in the vehicle did not render the traffic stop an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

Lastly, Balmert v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., No. 08-4433, involved a plaintiff's ERISA claim challenging the employee benefit plan provider's limited grant of long-term disability benefits for symptoms related to rheumatoid arthritis.  In affirming the district court's judgment upholding the defendant's determination, the court held that there was substantial evidence to support the benefits determination, and as such, it was not arbitrary and capricious.

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