Weekly Case Digests September 13, 2021 September 17, 2021.

Date17 September 2021

Byline: Derek Hawkins

7th Circuit Digests

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Joseph Canfield

Case No.: 20-3145

Officials: SYKES, Chief Judge, and FLAUM and EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Sentencing Guidelines Supervised Released

Defendant-appellant Joseph Canfield was sentenced to prison and supervised release for possessing child pornography. In a subsequent proceeding for revocation of his supervised release, the district court sentenced Canfield to twenty months' imprisonment and an additional five years' supervised release, a term of supervised release which all parties referred to as "mandatory." In this appeal, Canfield challenges the application of the additional five-year term as not actually mandatory but instead the result of a mutual mistake.

Going no further than our threshold waiver inquiry, we now affirm the judgment of the district court. Canfield had ample advance notice of the terms of his supervised release, was given a meaningful opportunity to object, indeed advanced several objections to those terms, and went so far as to affirmatively advance the argument he now challenges on appeal. Those actions amount to waiver.

Affirmed

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Jorge L. Leal

Case No.: 20-3102

Officials: EASTERBROOK, BRENNAN, and SCUDDER, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Interlocutory Appeal Miranda Warning

Jorge Leal used an online dating application to solicit sex acts from a user he believed was an underage boy. That user turned out to be a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent conducting a sting operation. In an interview with law enforcement, Leal confessed. He was then arrested and charged with knowingly attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2422(b). Leal moved to suppress his incriminating statements, arguing that the agents failed to provide a Miranda warning before the interview. The district court granted the motion, and the government filed this interlocutory appeal. Because Leal was not "in custody" during the interview, we reverse.

Reversed and remanded

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Carter Page, et al., v. Democratic National Committee, et al.,

Case No.: 20-2781

Officials: SCUDDER, ST. EVE, and KIRSCH, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Subject-matter Jurisdiction

Carter Page, a former advisor to the Donald J. Trump Presidential Campaign, filed suit against the Democratic National Committee, a subsidiary DNC Services Corporation, the law firm Perkins Coie LLP, and two Perkins Coie partners. Page alleges various acts of defamation based on news stories published in the fall of 2016. Having advanced only violations of state law, and further alleging that no defendant is a citizen of his home state of Oklahoma, Page relies on diversity jurisdiction as his gateway into federal court.

The district court dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction. Upon reviewing Page's notice of appeal and accompanying docketing statement, we questioned the existence of subject matter jurisdiction on the basis that Perkins Coie (with a few of its U.S. based partners working and living abroad) may not qualify as a proper defendant for purposes of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1332. Our concern proved accurate. So, while we have no reason to question the district court's conclusion on personal jurisdiction, we affirm the dismissal of Page's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Affirmed

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Hunter D. Roush

Case No.: 19-3217

Officials: ROVNER, BRENNAN, and ST. EVE, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Sentencing Guidelines Supervised Release

The defendant, Hunter D. Roush, pled guilty to transportation of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2252A(a)(1) and (b)(1), and possession of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2252A(a)(5)(B) and (b)(2). The district court imposed a below-Guidelines sentence of 188 months' imprisonment on Count I and 120 months' imprisonment on Count II, followed by 10 years of supervised release on each count, all running concurrently. Roush now appeals, arguing that the court erred in failing to properly identify the Guidelines range and that the court erred in failing to consider his primary arguments in mitigation before imposing the sentence. Neither argument has merit. The decision of the district court is AFFIRMED.

Affirmed

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Jacqueline Jones v. Arnold Mathews, et al.,

Case No.: 19-2629

Officials: SYKES, Chief Judge, and BRENNAN and ST. EVE, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Prisoner Deliberate Indifference

On November 30, 2015, Toya Frazier reported to the Champaign County Satellite Jail to begin serving a 42-month sentence for felony theft. She died in her cell less than 36 hours later. Jacqueline Jones is Frazier's sister and the Independent Administrator of Frazier's estate. She filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 against Sergeant Arnold Mathews, a correctional officer at the jail, alleging that he caused Frazier's death by acting with deliberate indifference to Frazier's symptoms of heroin withdrawal. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, and we affirm.

Affirmed

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Chawan Lowe

Case No.: 20-2736

Officials: KANNE, SCUDDER, and KIRSCH, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Admissible Evidence Other-acts Evidence

Chawan Lowe was found guilty of illegally possessing a firearm. He appeals his conviction and sentence on the grounds that the district court (1) admitted inadmissible "other-act evidence" at trial and (2) mishandled its response when a juror gave an "equivocal" answer about his individual verdict in jury polling. But the evidence in question was not inadmissible, the juror's answer was not equivocal, and the court acted appropriately in all respects. We therefore affirm the conviction and sentence.

Affirmed

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Leonard Kidd v. David Gomez

Case No.: 20-2207

Officials: EASTERBROOK, RIPPLE, and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Habeas Relief Admissible Evidence

Twice, Petitioner Leonard Kidd voluntarily testified under oath that he murdered four people in January 1984. He is serving a life sentence for those crimes. Kidd now seeks habeas relief because the police allegedly coerced a separate confession from him on the night of the murders. We decline to grant such relief because even if the allegedly coerced confession was improperly admitted at Kidd's trial, the admission did not have a "substantial and injurious effect or influence" on the jury's verdict. Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S. 619, 637 (1993) (quoting Kotteakos v. United States, 328 U.S. 750, 776 (1946)). We thus affirm the decision of the district court denying Kidd's habeas petition.

Affirmed

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Daniel Loughran, et al., v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al.,

Case No.: 19-3530

Officials: EASTERBROOK, WOOD, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Foreclosure Abstention Doctrine

Daniel and Margaret Loughran defaulted on their home mortgage in 2011. In the ensuing foreclosure litigation, the Loughrans have not contested that they are in default. Instead, they have pursued a series of procedural delay tactics, as a result of which they remain in possession of their home despite not having made a mortgage payment in nine years.

This case concerns one of the Loughrans' many maneuvers. In January 2019, after their state-court foreclosure litigation was already over seven years old, the Loughrans accused U.S. Bank and its counsel of committing fraud in the course of those proceedings. In May 2019, sensing that their fraud claim was going nowhere, the Loughrans tried their luck in federal court, with a complaint that copied and pasted large swaths of text from their state-court filings. Citing the doctrine first announced in Colorado River Water Conservation District v. United States, 424 U.S. 800 (1976), and noting the practical identity between the federal and state actions, the district court stayed the federal proceedings. The Loughrans have appealed that decision, which we now affirm.

Affirmed

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Anthony C. Olvera v. David Gomez

Case No.: 18-3435

Officials: RIPPLE, KANNE, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Habeas Relief Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Petitioner Anthony Olvera was the driver in a gang-related, drive-by shooting that resulted in the death of an innocent bystander. An Illinois jury found Mr. Olvera guilty of first-degree murder on the theory that he was accountable for the shooter's conduct. Mr. Olvera now seeks postconviction review, claiming that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by conducting an inadequate pretrial investigation. The state courts denied Mr. Olvera's petition. He then filed this petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2254. The district court denied relief. We now affirm the district court's judgment.

Affirmed

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Peter Daza v. State of Indiana, et al.,

Case No.: 20-1209

Officials: KANNE, WOOD, and SCUDDER, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Claim Preclusion

Peter Daza once worked for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), but he was fired in 2015. Believing that the agency took that step for discriminatory and retaliatory reasons, he sued it in 2017. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants, however, and we affirmed its decision. See Daza v. Indiana, 941 F.3d 303 (7th Cir. 2019) (Daza I). That should have been the end of things, but it was not. Days after the district court dismissed his first action, he filed the present case, which is identical except for the addition of a...

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