Friday, December 12, 2014

On the Lighter Side

DMV Sued After Refusing to Grant Driver’s License to Boy Wearing Make-Up

Chase Culpepper, a sixteen-year old resident of South Carolina, applied for a drivers license at his local DMV office. However, young Chase decided to spice things up and wear make-up for his license photo. Culpepper chooses not to subscribe to societal norms relative to clothing and make-up. So, naturally, Chase wears gender-neutral make-up (Perhaps his love of Capt. Jack Sparrow precipitated this choice).

Chase was denied a license because DMV policy states a driver’s license applicant cannot wear a “disguise” in a driver’s license photo. Chase has now sued the DMV, alleging the policy violates
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Because the DMV allows women to wear make-up in photos but not men, it is likely that the policy violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Of greater concern is the mental gymnastic required in determining how much make-up constitutes a disguise.

Court Denies Writ of Coram Nobis

In 2002, Ramiro Oseguera-Garcia (Oseguera) was charged and convicted of third-degree felony theft after he stole a purse from a convenience store customer. Oseguera was working as a clerk at the convenience store when the crime occurred. Oseguera had immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1972. Before this particular crime, Oseguera had been convicted of retail theft and was on probation. He pleaded guilty to theft on advice of counsel and was sentenced to sixty days in jail and another term of probation. Eight years later, federal immigration officers initiated deportation proceedings against Oseguera based on his third-degree felony theft charge. Oseguera then filed a petition to vacate his conviction under the PostConviction Relief Act (PRCA). His petition was based on the claim that his counsel was ineffective because he was never advised of the possibility of deportation as a result of pleading guilty. Oseguera also sought a writ of coram nobis in the alternative. The district court denied his petition, holding it was untimely. Oseguera appealed, alleging his attorney made affirmative misstatements regarding the possibility of deportation, which was different than what he argued before the district court.
At the district court, Oseguera argued he was never even told about the possibility of the deportation as a consequence to a guilty plea. The Utah Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of his PRCA petition. The court held Oseguera failed to preserve his claim that his attorney made misrepresentations related to the possibility of deportation. In order to preserve this claim on appeal,
Oseguera was required to raise this argument and present relevant legal authority in support of that claim. He failed to do so. Although exceptions exist to this general rule, the appellant must raise an appropriate justification for the court to hear an unpreserved objection. Oseguera failed to do this as well. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court’s denial of Oseguera’s PRCA petition. In regards to the writ of coram nobis, the court also affirmed the district court’s denial of that writ. The
court explained writs of coram nobis are extraordinary writs and should not be used in an ordinary
case. Citing State v. Rees, the court held a writ of coram nobis is inappropriate for ineffective assistance of counsel claims because the PRCA “establishes the sole remedy for any person who challenges a conviction or sentence for a criminal offense… and replaces all prior remedies for
review, including extraordinary or common law writs.” Consequently, Oseguera’s writ for coram nobis was properly denied.
Oseguera v. State, 2014 UT 31.