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Articles by Michael Brodheim

Citizen Occupants of Probationer's Residence May Be Lawfully Detained

By Michael Brodheim

A divided Ninth Circuit panel has held that police officers may lawfully detain the citizen occupants of a home during a probation compliance search.

Oscar Sanchez was incarcerated in state prison in 2003, when a spike in robberies in the Wilshire area of Los Angeles prompted the ...

11th Circuit: Nominal Damages Resulting From Unconstitutional Arrest Of 9-Year-Old On School Grounds Not Sufficiently Exceptional To Justify Award Of Attorney’s Fees

By Michael Brodheim

The Eleventh Circuit has vacated the award of attorney’s fees where the prevailing party, a nine-year-old Alabama child who in 2003 was handcuffed and arrested by a deputy on school grounds, was awarded only $1.00 in nominal damages by a jury in a suit filed pursuant to ...

California Court of Appeal Invalidates Untimely MDO Certification

By Mike Brodheim

The California Court of Appeal has invalidated the determination of the Board of Parole Hearings ("Board") that Felicia Blakely is a mentally disordered offender ("MDO"), finding that her MDO evaluations and certification occurred after her parole release date, in contravention of the mandatory deadline established by statute. ...

California Recognizes “Special Relationship” Between Jailer and Prisoner

By Michael Brodheim

A California Court of Appeal has held that there is a "special relationship" between jailer and prisoner, which gives rise to a duty of care to protect the prisoner from foreseeable harm and thus can support a state-law negligence claim. In so holding, California joins a virtually ...

Court of Appeal Overturns Governor's Reversal of Board's Third Grant of Parole to California Prisoner

By Mike Brodheim

The California Court of Appeal (First Appellate District, Div. 2) has overturned Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's reversal of the parole board's third grant of parole to Bennie Moses, some 30 years after he was sent to prison to serve a sentence of 17 years to life for second ...

Ninth Circuit: California’s Prop. 115 Not Unconstitutional

By Michael Brodheim

The Ninth Circuit has held that California’s Proposition 115, known as the Crime Victims Justice Reform Act, does not violate a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him.

Adopted by California voters in 1990, Prop. 115 added constitutional and statutory language to permit a ...

Life Sentence for Failure to Comply with Registration Requirement May Violate Eighth Amendment

By Michael Brodheim

Finding that a "Three strikes" sentence of 28 years to life imprisonment was so grossly disproportionate to an "entirely passive, harmless, and technical violation of the registration law" that it violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment, and that the California Court of Appeal's ...

9th Circuit: RLUIPA Not Applicable To Courthouse Holding Cell

By Mike Brodheim

A divided Ninth Circuit panel has held that a courthouse holding cell is not an "institution" as defined by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq., and hence that a Muslim woman's rights were not violated when, while detained ...

California: Prisoner’s Parole May Not Be Revoked if Board Fails to Act During 30-Day Discharge Review Period

By Mike Brodheim

The California Court of Appeal has held that, by failing to act during the 30-day discharge review period provided by statute, the Board of Parole Hearings (Board) lost jurisdiction to revoke the parole of a prisoner who had otherwise complied with the statutory conditions for discharge from ...

California: Controversy Surrounds Governor’s Grant of Clemency to Son of Political Friend

by Mike Brodheim

In one of his last official acts before leaving office in January 2011, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger exercised his right under the state constitution to grant clemency to Esteban Nuñez, the son of the governor’s friend, former State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez. Schwarzenegger reduced Esteban’s sentence for ...