Findlaw Case Summaries: Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals 9

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May 14, 2009.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE US v. Ness, No. 05-440 Conviction for conspiring to commit three money laundering offenses is reversed where: 1) a reasonable jury could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that the purpose of defendant’s transportation of narcotics proceeds was to conceal the nature, location, or source of the narcotics proceeds; and 2) the government failed to prove that defendant violated 18 U.S.C. sec. 1957(a), as it did not present sufficient evidence that a financial institution was involved. .

IMMIGRATION LAW Mendez v. Holder , No. 06-0032 Petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision affirming denial of cancellation of removal is granted and remanded where an error of law occurred in the Board’s decision, as facts important to the determination of exceptional and extremely unusual hardship were totally overlooked and others were seriously mischaracterized.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, HABEAS CORPUS Brisco v. Ercole , No. 05-4339 Grant of petition for habeas relief is reversed where: 1) plaintiff failed to establish that the state court’s decision was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law, as the challenged showup procedure was not unnecessarily suggestive; and 2) the showup identification was independently reliable.

ERISA, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW Rahm v. Halpin , No. 07-3206 In a dispute involving an employer’s contributions to an employee benefit plan, district court judgment is affirmed where defendant’s failure to make the required contributions to the plan did not constitute a breach of a fiduciary duty, as defendant’s unpaid contributions were not assets and thus defendant was not a fiduciary over the funds and not personally liable for any loss resulting from his conduct.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, IMMIGRATION LAW US v. Tureseo, No. 07-2933 Conviction and sentence for reentering the U.S. after deportation, making a false claim of U.S. citizenship, and aggravated identity theft is affirmed in part and vacated in part where: 1) the district court erred when it instructed the jury in defendant’s absence, but the error did not cause prejudice and was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt; but 2) the court made a constitutional error that was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt when it omitted an essential element of the offense in its jury instruction on the aggravated identity theft charge.

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