Plaintiff, a Washington State prisoner, filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 and Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 ("RLUIPA") action against defendants who are private entities that operate as chaplains within the Washington State prison system. At issue was whether defendants were state actors for purposes of section 1983 and RLUIPA when they declined plaintiff's request for a Torah, a Jewish calendar, and a rabbi visit on the ground that they did not consider him to be Jewish. The court held that defendants were not state actors where defendants' actions did not present the required "close nexus between the State and the challenged action" when plaintiff's alleged deprivation was not caused by the exercise of governmental policy and when there was no evidence that defendants were state actors under the public-function analysis and the joint participation analysis.
Petitioner, a native and citizen of Mexico, appealed a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") affirming the denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention against Torture. At issue was whether petitioner had experienced past persecution in Mexico as a homosexual male when he contracted HIV while living in California, traveled back to Mexico for two weeks, and then reentered the United States where he turned himself in to immigration authorities and requested asylum. The court held that there was substantial evidence that supported the BIA's decision where petitioner failed to demonstrate past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of his homosexuality or HIV positive-status when the sexual abuse petitioner suffered was not inflicted by government actors and when the BIA had sufficient basis to conclude that petitioner failed to show that the government was unable or unwilling to control his attackers.
Defendant appealed a jury conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm where he was a felon on probation after pleading guilty to "Attempt Child Abuse and Neglect" and where his girlfriend reported to the police that he possessed a shotgun in his apartment. At issue was whether there was sufficient evidence to demonstrate that he possessed the firearm; whether the prosecutor committed misconduct during closing arguments; whether the district court erred by refusing to give his proposed "mere presence" jury instructions; whether the district court correctly calculated the sentencing guidelines; and whether the sentence he received was substantively reasonable. The court affirmed defendant's conviction and held that the government established that he knowingly possessed the shotgun, the prosecutor's comments during closing argument did not shift the burden of proof, and he was not entitled to a "mere presence" jury instruction. The court also held that the district court correctly calculated the sentencing guidelines, correctly determined that defendant's prior conviction of "Attempt Child Abuse and Neglect" was a crime of violence, and imposed a reasonable sentence.
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