Skip to main content
Photo of a Law Library

Week 37 (2020)

Week of September 7 through September 11, 2020

United States v. McCain (Rushing 9/10/2020) The Fourth Circuit held that sentencing a seventeen-year-old to life in prison without the possibility of parole did not violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In reviewing the district court, the court concluded that the district court reasonably considered the defendant’s juvenility at the time of his offense, provided sufficient reasons for rejecting the defendant’s request for de facto parole, and permissively found that he was an uncommonly irreparable juvenile offender. The court also concluded that the defendant failed to show that the district court would have imposed a lesser sentence, but for plain error, based on the overall conduct of the defendant’s crimes, his prior record, and his post-conviction conduct. Therefore, the court found that the district court did not abuse its discretion and affirmed the district court’s denial of relief. Full Opinion

United States v. Feliciana (Rushing 9/11/2020) The Fourth Circuit held that a United States Park Police Officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop a commercial delivery driver after observing the delivery truck driving on a parkway that required a permit for commercial trucks. The court found that the Government failed to show that the officer had reasonable suspicion of criminal activity when he stopped the driver. Further, the court concluded that the stop could not be justified pursuant to an administrative inspection scheme. Consequently, the court concluded that the traffic stop was unreasonable and that the evidence obtained from the stop—which included marijuana found in the delivery driver’s shoe—should have been suppressed at trial. Therefore, the Fourth Circuit reversed, vacated, and remanded the district court’s denial of the commercial driver’s motion to suppress. Full Opinion

Hugh Gallagher IV