Blog also contains "Unfavorable" and "Informational" decisions and other articles. All can be useful in framing arguments for new court cases. i.e., avoid pitfalls or inform court and simply to learn whats happening to others. If you know of a case or lawsuit not listed, please let us know. Leagle is our main resource.
View decisions by the Federal Circuit a State is in.
NEW: (# Failure to Register Technicality
NEW: Travel Restrictions (Apparently Eff. 2013)
NEW: Border Patrol Checking
NEW: Failure to Register a Sex Offense???
CAUTION: SORNA EFFECTIVE even if state has not enacted it
Plea Bargains: Santabello v New York

US -v- Burns

12-30-14 Colorado:

US -v- Burns
775 F.3d 1221 (2014)

Mr. James Burns was convicted of possession and attempted possession of child pornography. See 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B), (b)(2). He was sentenced to 63 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release. This appeal involves one of the conditions of his supervised release. That condition requires approval of the probation department before Mr. Burns can have any contact with minors, including his youngest daughter (S.B.).

This restriction intrudes on Mr. Burns's constitutional right to familial association. Because of this intrusion on a constitutional right, the district court should have made particularized findings before restricting Mr. Burns's contact with his daughter. Because the district court failed to make these findings, we reverse on plain error.

USA v James

2-13-15 Arkansas:

USA v James

Edwin James appeals his sentence of lifetime supervised release and certain conditions of supervised release imposed by the district court after James pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250, as is required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 16901-16991. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

... ... ...

Court reversed on Special Condition 6

First, we address Special Condition 6, which states that "[t]he defendant shall have no access to the internet, or any device capable of accessing the internet to include a computer and/or cell phone without the permission of the probation officer.

" There is no evidence in the PSR or any other source in the record of James ever using the internet, much less using the internet for unlawful purposes. See United States v. Springston, 650 F.3d 1153, 1156 (8th Cir. 2011) (vacating a restriction on internet access because "[t]he record . . . is devoid of evidence that [the defendant] has ever used a computer for any purpose") vacated on other grounds, Springston v. United States, 132 S.Ct. 1905 (2012); United States v. Crume, 422 F.3d 728, 733 (8th Cir. 2005) (vacating a restriction on computer use and internet access because "the record is devoid of evidence that [the defendant] has ever used his computer for anything beyond simply possessing child pornography").

The government concedes that this special condition should be vacated, and we agree.

California transplant wins appeal in sex registry case

3-10-2012 New Mexico:

SANTA FE — Does a convicted sex offender in California have to register with the government if he moves to New Mexico?

The New Mexico Court of Appeals said one such man did not, setting the stage for another courtroom confrontation this month.

Bruce D. Hall, about to turn 65 years old, is the defendant in the middle of this storm over laws and protection of children. Hall is a marked man as a sex offender in California but, so far, not in New Mexico.

Court records show that Hall in 1999 was convicted in California of "annoying or molesting children," a misdemeanor. An assistant attorney general in New Mexico stated in a brief that Hall touched the genitals of three young boys.

Hall moved to Las Cruces, but did not register as a sex offender. This led to his indictment in 2008 for violating New Mexico's Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

Hall said that, despite his criminal record, he was not obligated to register as a sex offender. What he did in California was not a sex offense in New Mexico, he argued.

He said he could not be subjected to the registration law and asked that the charge against him be dismissed.

District Judge Douglas Driggers of Doña Ana County rejected Hall's motion. Hall entered a conditional guilty plea, but preserved his right to appeal.

Judge orders D.C. to pay record $9.2 million in wrongful conviction case

2-28-15 Washington DC:

A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered the District government Friday to pay a record $9.2 million in damages to Kirk L. Odom, 52, who was wrongfully imprisoned for more than 22 years in the rape and robbery of a woman in her Capitol Hill apartment in 1981.

The amount, set by Judge Neal E. Kravitz, is the second — and largest — award in a case tried before a District judge under the District’s wrongful conviction law, which was approved in 1980. It also is one of the largest non-jury awards in an exoneration case in the United States.

“Mr. Odom spent more than twenty-two years of what should have been the prime of his adult life behind bars for a crime he did not commit,” Kravitz wrote in a 37-page opinion that recounted Odom’s “profound” physical and psychological suffering over the decades that included several prison rapes, his diagnosis with HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — suicide attempts, depression and family estrangement.

“It was readily apparent to the court at trial that Mr. Odom is only a shell of the young man he was at the time of his wrongful conviction, and only a shell of the grown man he would have become had he not been wrongly convicted and unjustly imprisoned,” Kravitz wrote.

In an interview , Odom, who was 18 at the time of the crime, said he welcomed word of the award from his attorneys, but added, “They can’t pay me enough money to give me back the years that I’ve lost.”

Carbondale approves settlement in lawsuit

3-17-15 Pennsylvania:

CARBONDALE — A lawsuit against Carbondale moved one step closer to settlement after city council approved a $50,000 payment.

In a suit filed last year, Leo Conway of Archbald claimed his son, Patrick, was among 15 sex offenders registered under Megan’s Law in the city but the only one forced to move under an ordinance that precluded registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school, park or other areas where children might gather.

In July 2012, Mayor Justin Taylor contacted the Conways’ landlord and advised him that Patrick Conway’s presence violated the city’s ordinance and directed him to evict the men, according to the lawsuit. Mr. Conway argued a 2011 state Supreme Court decision in another case made Carbondale’s law unconstitutional.

Henry Ford College settles suit with sex offender

See earlier story: Sex offender suing HFCC for kicking him out and Henry Ford Community College Faces Suit After Kicking Sex Offender Out and Sex offender with high GPA wants back into college (Attorney Shaun Godwin)

5-5-15 Michigan:

A convicted sex offender who sued a suburban Detroit college over his dismissal settled the case for $36,000.

An agreement obtained by The Associated Press says the payment came earlier this year from Henry Ford College’s insurer. In exchange, Michael Branch has agreed to stay away from the Dearborn campus.

Branch claimed his rights were violated when the school removed him in 2011, despite good grades in a heating-and-cooling program. But in court filings, Henry Ford said his enrollment was terminated because of parole requirements. Branch had to stay away from minors and child-care facilities.

Henry Ford denied wrongdoing but settled the lawsuit solely for “business reasons.” Branch was convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old girl in 2004. by The Detroit News

Illinois high court: Comcast must reveal anonymous commenter

6-18-15 Illinois:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. The Illinois Supreme Court has affirmed a lower court opinion ordering Comcast Cable Communications to identify a subscriber who posted an anonymous message suggesting a political candidate molests children.

The court said Thursday that the internet service provider must identify the subscriber who commented on a 2011 article in the Freeport Journal Standard about Bill Hadley's candidacy for the Stephenson County board.

The commenter, who used the online name "Fuboy," wrote that "Hadley is a Sandusky waiting to be exposed" because he can see an elementary school from his home. The comment was an apparent reference to former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky who was convicted of child sex abuse in 2012.

Prepping to pee in park wasn’t perverted, jury says

11-22-2013 California:

Pinching a homeless guy for pointing Percy at the park instead of the porcelain was ultimately pointless because it wasn’t perverted, a San Francisco Superior Court jury said this week.

The homeless defendant, Miguel Hernandez, was accused of flashing a mother and her 4-year-old child on August 11 when he pulled out his penis to, by his account, pee at Franklin Square Park on Bryant and 16th streets. The 29-year-old woman said she thought the 38-year-old Hernandez had an erection when he swung his male equipment within her view — but Hernandez told the jury he only turned because he heard an eruption of noise from a nearby soccer game and wanted to see who scored.

Hernandez — who wound up on the streets recently when he lost his job as a wine buyer — told investigators he thought everyone nearby was too absorbed in the game to notice what he was doing. He then took off his shoes and sat down to also watch the game, his defense attorney said. That’s where police officers who’d been summoned by the outraged mother arrested him.

Rosin v Monken

3-17-2010 New York, Illinois:

Rosin v Monken

After he was required to register as a sex offender in Illinois, Mitchell Rosin brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the defendants failed to give full faith and credit to the March 27, 2003 judgment of a New York court. In that order, the court accepted a plea agreement that did not require Rosin to register as a sex offender in New York.

He contends that Illinois is constitutionally required to give effect to the New York judgment and thus cannot, on the basis of that order, force him to register as a sex offender within its jurisdiction. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss, finding that the registration requirement in the New York order was merely stricken, which left the order silent on the subject.

Since the plea agreement did not purport to prevent any state other than New York from registering Rosin as a sex offender, and because any such provision would have been ineffective even if it had been included, we affirm.

The purpose of the Full Faith and Credit Clause "was to alter the status of the several states as independent foreign sovereignties, each free to ignore obligations created under the laws or by the judicial proceedings of the others, and to make them integral parts of a single nation throughout which a remedy upon a just obligation might be demanded as of right, irrespective of the state of its origin." Baker v. General Motors Corp., 522 U.S. 222, 232, 118 S.Ct. 657, 139 L.Ed.2d 580 (1998) (quoting Milwaukee County v. M.E. White Co., 296 U.S. 268, 277, 56 S.Ct. 229, 80 L.Ed. 220 (1935)). By virtue of its "exacting" operation with respect to judgments, the Full Faith and Credit Clause results in "the judgment of the rendering State [gaining] nationwide force." Id. at 233, 118 S.Ct. 657. The primary operational effect of the Clause's application is "for claim and issue preclusion (res judicata) purposes." Id. at 233, 118 S.Ct. 657.

An Unjust Bargain: Plea Bargains and Waiver of the Right to Appeal

5-28-15 National:


The U.S. Supreme Court estimates that at least ninety percent of criminal convictions are based on guilty pleas. Frequently, criminal defendants are required to waive their appellate rights as a condition of the plea bargain.

The Supreme Court has not addressed the validity of these waivers, but most federal and state courts to address the issue hold them enforceable when they are made knowingly and voluntarily.

A minority of states grant defendants the statutory right to appeal adverse determinations on motions to suppress evidence following the entry of a guilty plea.

California and New York hold that this additional appellate right may be waived in a plea agreement.

This Note asserts that waivers of this specific right should not be enforceable because such waivers are often extracted under coercive circumstances that violate due process and contract law principles.

Furthermore, waivers of this right contravene legislatures’ interest in efficiency by encouraging defendants to proceed to trial solely to preserve their claims of error for appeal. ..Full Paper.. by Alexandra W. Reimelt