United States v Edwards

Edwards appealed the denial of his motion to suppress thousands of images of child pornography found on his computer. The panel affirmed. It held the search warrant issued in this case was unsupported by probable cause because the images identified by the officer in the affidavit were not pornographic, Edwards’ explicit comments about the legal pictures did not create probable cause that child pornography was present in his house and the fact some possessors of child pornography also have erotic but not illegal images of children does create the reverse inference that posing legal erotic images of minors means the person also possesses child pornography and participation in online pedophilic discussion does not support an inference of possessing child pornography. However, the panela held the good faith exception applied and affirmed on that basis. It rejected Edwards’ argument that the exceptions to the good faith exception applied as there was no evidence the affidavit was deliberately false, there was no requirement the magistrate view the images which in any event were legal as described, the search warrant used the statutory definition of child pornography thus eliminating the change adult pornography would be seized and the affidavit was not a bare bones affair but contained details of Edwards’ behavior and the error in issuing the warrant went to a logical fallacy which both the issuing magistrate and reviewing district court missed making the officer’s failure to notice reasonable under the circumstances.

Hagos v Raemisch

Hagos appealed the dismissal of his habeas petition challenging one of two convictions resulting in consecutive life sentences arguing that there was a case or controversy even though granting relief would not result in any decease in his term of imprisonment. The panel reversed. It first held that because the two consecutive sentences formed one continuing stream of imprisonment, Hagos was “in custody” for habeas purposes under Supreme Court precedent. It held there was a case or controversy because the challenged conviction had continuing adverse legal consequences such as limiting Hagos’ ability to stay in a lower level of restraint and his eligibility for prison programs and the fact Hagos is challenging the other conviction in state court creates a chance that both convictions will be overturned and Hagos can go free. The panel noted nothing more needs to be shown to demonstrate a case or controversy in this context.

Shimomura v Carlson

Shimomura sued Carlson and a police officer alleging he was arrested without probable cause. The district court granted judgment to the officer on qualified immunity grounds and dismissed the remaining claims for failure to state a claim. The panel, with one judge dissenting in part, affirmed. The majority held the officer had arguable probable cause to arrest as he saw Shimomura push his luggage towards Carlson causing Carlson to move and then moving away from the scene a more rapid pace which could have constituted assault under a local ordinance and the officer’s belief was therefore reasonable. The panel held that dismissal of a wrongful arrest claim against Carlson was correct as her alleged misconduct occurred after the arrest and thus could not have caused the arrest. It held there was no plausible conspiracy allegation given the few seconds available before the arrest for a conspiracy to be made and the lack of allegations about the conspiracy coming into being. It finally held that the due process claims were properly dismissed as fourth amendment protections against unlawful arrest, not fifth and Fourteenth amendment due process protections, govern wrongful arrest claims. The dissent argued that qualified immunity was not available here as there was material dispute about what the arresting officer could see form his vantage point behind Shimomura and Carlson and thus summary judgment was inappropriate.

United States v Tenorio

Tenorio appealed his conviction for child sex abuse arguing the district court erroneously allowed him to be cross examined about a polygraph exam. The panel affirmed. It held that by raising the issue of coerced confession, Tenorio opened the door to be examined about the polygraph. It also held the limiting instruction correctly informed the jury what the polygraph evidence could be used for.

Jones v Norton

Jones sued Norton and other law enforcement officers and their employers plus a mortuary alleging federal and state claims in the death of her son. The district court granted summary judgment on a state emotional distress claim dismissed the federal claims and declined jurisdiction over the remaining state claims. It denied a motion for sanctions based on spoliation and the magistrate awarded costs to the defendants. The panel affirmed in part and dismissed in part. It held there was no seizure in this case as the son never submitted to the officers’ displays of authority and there was no evidence anyone was close enough to the son to pull the trigger on the fatal shot besides the son. Thus all claims based on the fourth amendment failed as a matter of law. The panel held there was no claim against Norton or any of the other defendants under the Ute treaty as the only claim allowed was against the United States. It held the lack of any evidence of racial motivation means the conspiracy claims fail as a matter of law. It held judgment on the emotional distress claim was correct as there was no evidence the mortuary employee knew about Jones let alone drew blood through son’s neck with intent to cause distress to jones and her family. It affirmed on the spoliation motion holding son’s wounds were unsurvivable so failing to aid him did not deprive Jones of any evidence, Norton and the other defendants were not responsible for the destruction of son’s gun, neither Norton or any named defendant had a duty to preserve any possible trace evidence on Norton’s gun, and there was no prejudice form eh failure to properly collect evidence form son’s remains as there would have been no change in the corner’s finding of suicide and no evidence form the body was sued against Jones. The panel dismissed the costs issue as Jones failed to object to the magistrate’s report and the order was not a final order and thus there was no appellate jurisdiction.