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A six month delay between a property inspection and notice of a municipal ordinance citation does not violate due process. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's amended complaint for failure to state a procedural due process claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The court held that the administrative and judicial proceedings available for plaintiff to challenge her citation for growing weeds greater than 10 inches tall in her garden satisfied due process, and the accuracy of the city's interpretation of its ordinance did not implicate the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, plaintiff failed to allege facts supporting a plausible violation of her due process rights. The court rejected plaintiff's alternative theory that the city misinterpreted the ordinance's plain text. View "Tucker v. City of Chicago" on Justia Law

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The statutory provision that prohibits ordering restitution to a participant in defendant's offense, 18 U.S.C. 3663(a)(1)(A), does not prohibit ordering restitution to the participant's family members in cases in which the family members are victims in their own right, whose losses are not merely derivative of the participant's losses. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's sentence and order of restitution after defendant was convicted of 13 criminal charges related to a heroin distribution conspiracy he operated. In this case, the family members were directly harmed by defendant's criminal conduct where they witnessed defendant commit murder and suffered incredibly traumatic injuries as a direct result of the event. View "United States v. Price" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed defendant's 20 year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to transporting methamphetamine as part of a 20-person conspiracy. The court held that the evidence, viewed apart from the base offense levels of defendant's coconspirators, was sufficient to support the district court's finding that defendant handled more than 1.5 kilograms of Ice. In this case, the decision not to treat defendant identically with his coconspirators did not plainly make a difference to his sentencing range or impair the fairness or integrity of the proceedings. The court also held that defendant was not entitled to insist on a minimal role for himself while still receiving credit for accepting responsibility. View "United States v. Castaneda" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Seventh Circuit reversed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence after he pleaded guilty to illegal possession of heroin and a firearm. In this case, officers detained and frisked defendant after observing him and his brother load paper bags into defendant's garage. The officer who ordered the stop had a hunch that the bags contained drug-trafficking contraband, but the officer was wrong. Nonetheless, eight officers continued to detain defendant. The court held that when the officers seized and searched defendant, they did not have a reasonable suspicion that he was engaged in crime. Even if the original stop had been justified, the officers continued detaining defendant beyond the original justification for the stop. The court held that either violation was sufficient to undermine the validity of defendant's eventual consent to the search of his house. View "United States v. Lopez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The definition of "consumer" under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act includes consumers who have been alleged by debt collectors to owe debts that the consumers themselves contend they do not owe. The Seventh Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's action against Main Street, alleging violations of the FDCPA and the Illinois Collection Agency Act. The court held that, based on the text of the FDCPA, plaintiff was a qualifying consumer under 15 U.S.C. 1692 where Main Street alleged that plaintiff owed debt and tried its case to the bench in small claims court, even if it failed to prove the claim. View "Loja v. Main Street Acquisition Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Shellpoint in an action alleging that Shellpoint discriminated against plaintiffs based on race when it prohibited them from assuming the loan of a home that they had purchased. The court held that no reasonable jury could find that Shellpoint discriminated against plaintiffs based on their race where their only evidence was vague and speculative. Furthermore, the requirement that plaintiffs satisfy the outstanding loan payment was consistent with the loan agreement, which conditions assumption on Shellpoint's determination that its security would not be impaired. The court also held that plaintiffs did not point to evidence countering the Shellpoint representative's statement that they never produced a complete application. View "Sims v. New Penn Financial LLC" on Justia Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion for a hearing under Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978), to probe the credibility of the FBI agent who procured a warrant for samples of his DNA. In this case, defendant conditionally pleaded guilty to bank robbery. The court held that, although the wording of the warrant affidavit was misleading, curing the inaccuracy would not defeat probable cause. Nevertheless, the court held that defendant failed to make a substantial preliminary showing that the misstatement was deliberate or reckless. View "United States v. Daniels" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed defendant's 71 month sentence after he pleaded guilty to distributing fentanyl. The court held that any error in calculating defendant's criminal history category was harmless because it had no effect on the sentenced imposed. The court also held that the district court gave a sufficient explanation for departing from the recommended 3-year term. The court remanded with instructions for the district court to correct two clerical errors in the written judgment. View "United States v. Clark" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2254. Petitioner claimed that the prosecutor made improper statements during closing arguments. The court held that the prosecutor's comment on petitioner's failure to testify was not an invitation for the jury to consider petitioner's decision as evidence of his guilty. To the extent that any prejudice arose from the comment, the clear jury instructions cured it. The court also held that the prosecutor's argument concerning the Gangster Disciples did not prejudice petitioner. View "Clark v. Lashbrook" on Justia Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions for eight counts of health care fraud and eight counts of making false statements affecting a healthcare matter. The court held that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's guilty verdict where there was ample evidence in the record from which the jury could infer that in order to make insurance companies pay for something that otherwise fell outside their policies, defendant performed a cosmetic procedure on patients whom he intentionally misdiagnosed. The court held that the evidence also supported the finding that defendant committed fraud by submitting claims that IPL by itself destroyed 15 or more lesions caused by actinic keratosis, something he knew it could not do. Finally, the court declined to reach the merits of defendant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. View "United States v. Memar" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law