1. Another Johnson fight, this time in an en banc denial. Judge Martin dissents from the denial and explains the makes-no-sense position o the 11th. Julie Carnes defends that position in a concurrence to the denial. Martin’s conclusion is very powerful:
The Supreme Court recently reminded us of our crucial duty to “exhibit regard for fundamental rights and respect for prisoners as people.” Rosales- Mireles v. United States, 585 U.S. ___, 138 S. Ct. 1897, 1907 (2018) (quotation omitted). This duty encompasses thorough review of sentences we now know are longer than the law permitted, because “[t]o a prisoner, th[e] prospect of additional time behind bars is not some theoretical or mathematical concept[;] . . . [it] has exceptionally severe consequences for the incarcerated individual and for society which bears the direct and indirect costs of incarceration.” Id. (quotations omitted and alterations adopted). When considering claims like Mr. Beeman’s, “what reasonable citizen wouldn’t bear a rightly diminished view of the judicial process and its integrity if courts refused to correct obvious errors of their own devise that threaten to require individuals to linger longer in federal prison than the law demands?” Id. at 1908 (quotation omitted).
Mr. Beeman was sentenced in 2009. With a ten-year maximum sentence, he could be nearing his release date. Instead, he will spend another seven-and-a-half more years behind bars. And not only does this Court sanction his unconstitutional sentence, we will prevent him—and many other prisoners like him—from arguing the full merits of his case in court. Our Court is now daily presented with pleadings from prisoners who are barred from our Court because of the rule created in the Beeman panel opinion. In my view, it is the role of the courts to hear these claims. I therefore register my dissent about this court’s failure to do so.
2. The 11th had to decide what to do with a cell-site case post-Carpenter. Sadly, the court finds that the good faith exception applies and holds that even though there was a 4th Amendment violation (grudgingly), no need to suppress anything (yay):
The Government has maintained throughout this case that it acted in good faith and that the Leon exception therefore applies; neither Sturgis nor Joyner presented any argument or evidence to either the district court or this Court to counter that proposition. They have instead relied on their assertion of a warrant requirement and their hope that Carpenter would come down in their favor,5 but the fact that the Carpenter Court agreed with their Fourth Amendment theory does not affect the applicability of the Leon good faith exception in this case.
3. Finally, the court vacated a plea and sentence where there was no transcript of the plea and the lower court could not adequately reconstruct the record:
Because the reconstructed record does not allow for effective appellate review of Elmore’s change-of-plea hearing, we vacate her convictions and total sentence, and remand her case to the District Court for further proceedings.