The case of the day is Igartúa v. Obama (1st Cir. 2016). Long-time readers know I have been writing about the First Circuit’s (and the Supreme Court’s) Puerto Rico status cases for a while. In the latest case, Gregoria Igartúa, a US citizen residing in Puerto Rico, and the litigant who has been raising issues of Puerto Rico’s status for years, in a series of cases, claims that he was denied a constitutional right to elect representatives from Puerto Rico to the U.S. House of Representatives and that the district court erred by refusing to convene a three-judge court to hear his claim. The First Circuit previously rejected both claims in Igartúa v. United States, 626 F.3d 592 (1st Cir. 2010), and in that case, the full court denied a petition for en banc review and the Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari.
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The case of the day is Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust (S. Ct. 2016). I’m sorry, readers who are looking for service of process or 1782 cases—you’ll have to stick it out for one more day of Puerto Rico coverage. By way of explanation, I take a particular interest in Puerto Rico status issues because the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the federal appellate court here in Boston, hears appeals from the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, and because the underlying issues have—for me at least—inherent political and legal interest.
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The case of the day is Puerto Rico v. Sánches Valle (S. Ct. 2016). I wrote about the case back in January. The issue is interesting: Sánches Valle was indicted by both a federal grand jury and by Puerto Rico prosecutors on gun trafficking charges. He pleaded guilty to the federal indictment and then moved to dismiss the Puerto Rico indictment on double jeopardy grounds. (For foreign readers, the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution provides: “nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb”). The main rule in this area is the so-called “dual sovereignty doctrine.” A single “sovereign” cannot put a defendant in jeopardy twice on the same charge, but separate “sovereigns”—for example, the United States and Massachusetts—can.
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