1) Brown v. Stephens, No. 13-70030 - Death Penalty/Clemency - Addressing an issue of first impression, the Fifth Circuit held that a petitioner who requests funding for investigative services in the clemency context must show that the requested services are reasonably necessary to provide the Governor and the Board of Pardones and Paroles the information they need to determine whether to exercise their discretion to extend grace so as to prevent a miscarriage of justice.
2) Reece v. U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n, No. 14-10176 - Mortgage Foreclosure - Reece is one of the numerous lawsuits currently in federal court arising out of a mortgage-foreclosure sale and forcible eviction. Affirming the district court's Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, the Fifth Circuit held that the Plaintiff failed to state plausible claims for fraud, placing a fraudulent lien on real property under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, and wrongful foreclosure based on MERS's alleged inability to assign a deed of trust.
3) Garcia v. Holder, No. 13-60381 - Immigration - The court reversed a BIA decision denying CAT protection and remanded to the BIA for further consideration. To succeed on his CAT claim, the petition had to show that it is more likely than not that he would be tortured upon return to his homeland and sufficient state action involved in that torture. The BIA denied relief because it was not clear that the men who threatened petitioner were actual police officers. The court explained that the BIA adopted an unnecessarily narrow view of state action becuase it did not consider the alternative view, supported by record evidence, that those men "may have received their information about [petitioner] from othe government officials acting in their official capacities," which would qualify as sufficient state action.