Articles Posted in Criminal Law and Justice

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November 8-12 2010.

United States Fourth Circuit, 11/12/2010
US v. Ide, No. 09-4833
District court’s grant of government’s petition to revoke defendant’s term of supervised release originally imposed in May 2002 as part of his sentence on a federal charge, claiming that defendant’s commission of an additional state offense, along with his failure to file monthly reports, violated the conditions of his supervised release, is affirmed as, under the circumstances, a defendant’s supervised release term is tolled under 18 U.S.C. section 3624(e) during the period that he spent in pretrial detention awaiting trial on the state charge for which he later was convicted. ..

United States Fifth Circuit, 11/09/2010
US v. Jackson, No. 09-10850
Defendant’s conviction and sentence, following a jury trial, for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, are vacated where certain notebooks introduced into evidence were not sufficiently authenticated, the error violated defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause, and the error was not harmless.

United States Fifth Circuit, 11/09/2010
US v. Flores-Gallo, No. 09-40882
Defendant’s sentence for unlawful reentry into the U.S. is affirmed where the district court properly found that defendant’s prior Kansas aggravated battery offense was a “crime of violence” for sentencing purposes and imposed an enhancement accordingly.
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On social media bad news spreads quickly.

When off-duty Baltimore Police Detective Brian Stevenson was killed Saturday night after being struck in the head by a piece of concrete, word spread quickly through police circles and spilled onto Facebook, where the officer’s young daughter learned of his death before relatives could break it to her in person.

See complete article by Justin Fenton in the October 20, Baltimore Sun.

October 2009 – September 2010.

Issued October 2010

New York State fully implemented changes to its drug laws on October 7, 2009. This report provides a preliminary update of the impact during the first year. More comprehensive reports will be issued in the coming months. The preliminary review shows that because of the drug law changes:

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October 11-15 2010.

United States First Circuit, 10/11/2010
US v. Brown
Defendant’s conviction for possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute is affirmed where: 1) although the district court’s factual findings and the inferences made from those findings, which formed the basis of its conclusion that reasonable suspicion existed to stop a car, are not compelled by the record or by the facts, both are nonetheless reasonable and therefore pass constitutional muster; 2) the affirmance of the district court’s finding that the officers had reasonable suspicion to stop the car forecloses the need to address defendant’s challenge to the district court’s alternate conclusion that the car was not seized when the officers first approached; and 3) there was no abuse of discretion in the district court’s denial of defendant’s motion to suppress evidence without an evidentiary hearing.

United States First Circuit, 10/14/2010
US v. Kinsella
Conviction of defendant for conspiring to possess and distribute oxycodone, possessing oxycodone with intent to distribute, and willfully failing to appear in court as required, as well as a 97-month sentence, are affirmed where: 1) defendant’s claim of multiple instances of prosecutorial misconduct is rejected; and 2) the district judge did not clearly err in his drug-quantity calculations.

United States First Circuit, 10/15/2010
Statchen v. Palmer
In plaintiff’s 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit against police officers, claiming that they used excessive force in arresting him for public intoxication and in transporting him from a station house to jail, district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants on the basis of qualified immunity is affirmed as the district court had no basis for sending the case to a jury because plaintiff’s own deposition provided no evidence to indicate that the force exerted was unnecessary, or that a reasonable police officer would have thought otherwise. .
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In the October 15, 2010 Wall Street Journal, Dionne Searcey reports that “after numerous record-shattering fines and executive prosecutions in recent years, the government’s crackdown on violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act shows no signs of slowing.

So far this year, the U.S. Justice Department has carried out a dozen prosecutions, after 19 prosecutions in 2009. That doesn’t include civil cases brought under the law by the Securities and Exchange Commission.” To see Ms. Searcey’s complete article, go to:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704634104575552583836621938.html?mod=dist_smartb

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman on October 13, 2010 announced the establishment of the New York State Permanent Sentencing Commission, charged with conducting a comprehensive and ongoing evaluation of sentencing laws and practices and recommending reforms to improve the quality and effectiveness of statewide sentencing policy. A very important aspect of this Commission is that has been designated as permanent. There have been previous commissions created to look into these matters in New York State but they were designated as temporary. Hopefully the permant designation of this Commission will increase its influnce and help ensure that it’s recommendations and ongoing guidance will have significant impact over many years.

For official Unified Court System Press Release announcing establishment of New York State Sentencing Commission visit:

http://www.nycourts.gov/press/pr2010_11.shtml:

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October 4-8, 2010.

United States First Circuit, 10/07/2010
US v. Figueroa-Gonzalez
Conviction of defendant for carjacking and firearm use during and in relation to a crime of violence is affirmed as there was no error, clear or otherwise, as the district court was presented with conflicting evidence and chose to conclude that the evidence was stronger in favor of competency to plead guilty.

United States First Circuit, 10/08/2010
Tevlin v. Spencer
District court’s denial of defendant’s request for habeas relief from his convictions for first-degree murder, armed robbery, and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, is affirmed where: 1) defendant has failed to demonstrate the existence of ineffective assistance of counsel in any of his theories; and 2) the Massachusetts discovery procedures are not on their face unconstitutional and defendant has not established that their application here violated due process. .

United States Second Circuit, 10/06/2010
Matthews v. US
Defendant’s convictions for racketeering, drug-related murder, and the use of a firearm are affirmed where, while drug-related murder can be punishable by death if certain aggravating circumstances are specified in the charging instrument, no such aggravating factors were specified in the information. .
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A significant note from the Duke Law Journal by Joanna Huang with the above title has been posted today September 29 on the Sentencing Law and Policy blog According to Ms. Huang, “…in 1987 the United States political and social systems lost trust in the judiciary and severely limited its authority by enacting the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.” She goes on to observe that in 2005 trust was restored in the judiciary when United States v. Booker made the Sentencing Guidelines advisory; and that, although Booker provides for increase in judicial discretion, judges are still unable to correct sentences imposed during the intervening eighteen years because Booker does not apply retroactively.

For more, we recommend that you go to the Sentencing Law and Policy blog

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