To view the full-text of cases you must sign in to FindLaw.com. All summaries are produced by Findlaw
April 12 -16, 2010:
U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, April 14, 2010 US v. Cintron-Echautegui, No. 08-1800 In a conviction of defendant for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, district court’s imposition of 292-months’ imprisonment is affirmed as the court did not clearly err in making its drug quantity determination. .
U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, April 14, 2010 US v. Mardirosian, No. 09-1144 Conviction of defendant for possessing, concealing or storing six stolen paintings, including a rare Cezanne valued at $29 million, is affirmed where: 1) the 1999 Agreement had no bearing on the “stolen” character of the paintings as the agreement was void ab initio as a contract for an illegal purpose; 2) the jury’s finding that defendant knew the paintings were stolen at some point after taking possession of them was sufficient to satisfy 18 U.S.C. section 2315’s mens rea requirement; 3) district court did not err in instructing the jury that the Agreement did not provide defendant with viable mens rea defense to the charge; and 4) district court’s use of Cezanne’s 1999 auction price in its calculation of loss was not clearly erroneous.
U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, April 15, 2010 US. v. Ellison , No. 09-1234 In a conviction of defendant for robbery and related offenses, district court’s denial of defendant’s motion to suppress statements made to the police while being held at a county jail charged with another crime is affirmed, as there is nothing in the facts of this case that would be likely create the atmosphere of coercion subject to Miranda concern. .
U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, April 15, 2010 Foley v. Kiely , No. 09-1250 In plaintiff’s 42 U.S.C. section 1983 claim against Massachusetts State Troopers and a police sergeant, claiming the troopers unconstitutionally seized and arrested him, district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants is affirmed, as the troopers did not violate plaintiff’s constitutional rights in detaining and subsequently arresting him.
U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, April 12, 2010 Rosario v. Ercole, No. 08-5521 In a murder prosecution, the denial of petitioner’s habeas petition is affirmed where the trial court conducted a thorough hearing, assessing the credibility of the potential witnesses first-hand, in denying petitioner’s ineffective assistance claim, and petitioner did not rebut those findings by clear and convincing evidence.
U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, April 14, 2010 Reinhold v. Rozum, No. 08-3371 District court’s denial of defendant’s request for habeas relief, filed more than ten years after his conviction for kidnapping and related crimes became final, is affirmed as, the Supreme Court’s decision in Cunningham v. California 549 U.S. 270 (2007) does not apply retroactively to convictions, such as defendants, that became final before it was decided.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 12, 2010 Stroman v. Thaler, No. 07-20198 In a cocaine possession prosecution, the dismissal of petitioner’s habeas petition is affirmed where petitioner’s petition was untimely, and he failed to show the due diligence required for equitable tolling.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 13, 2010 US v. Davis, No. 08-20844 Defendant’s conviction for aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns is affirmed where: 1) the IRS did not reject the Forms 1040 defendant prepared based on the language he added to them, and thus the Forms 1040 were valid, though fraudulent, tax returns; and 2) defendant failed to demonstrate how the district court’s failure to give him accommodations that were never requested affected his substantial rights.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 15, 2010 US v. Garcia, No. 09-40575 Defendant’s cocaine possession conviction is affirmed where 1) defendant did not qualify his consent to the police, who therefore had general consent to search defendant’s truck; and 2) when the officers requested permission to search the truck after asking defendant whether he was carrying “anything illegal,” it was natural to conclude that they might look for hidden compartments or containers. However, defendant’s sentence is remanded for correction of a clerical error in the judgment.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 15, 2010 US v. Santillana, No. 09-50298 Defendant’s conviction for distributing methadone resulting in another’s death is affirmed where: 1) although the evidence did not provide an airtight chain-of-custody account of the methadone tablets defendant sold to the victim, there was ample support for a reasonable jury to infer that the victim ingested those tablets before slipping into his fatal coma; and 2) there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that the victim’s death resulted from his use of methadone under a heightened standard of causation.
U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 13, 2010 Smith v. County of Lenawee, No. 09-1703 In an action brought by the estate of a deceased plaintiff, who died while in custody of the county sheriff’s department, the order of the district court denying defendant-parole agent’s motion for summary judgment on the gross negligence claim is reversed as, defendant’s actions were not the proximate cause of plaintiff’s death and defendant is thus entitled to governmental immunity.
U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 13, 2010 US v. Taylor , No. 09-3019 In a conviction of defendant for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, district court’s grant of defendant’s motion to suppress evidence is affirmed as the apartment tenant lacked apparent authority to consent to the search of the shoebox, as there was ambiguity over whether the tenant had mutual use or control of the shoebox, and the officers failed to cure this ambiguity by asking either the tenant or defendant to clarify the situation. .
U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 15, 2010 American Booksellers Found. for Free Expression v. Strickland, No. 07-4375 In plaintiffs’ suit claiming that Ohio Revised Code section 2907.31(D)(1), criminalizing sending juveniles material that is harmful to them, is unconstitutional under the First Amendment and Commerce Clause, district court’s judgment for the plaintiffs and its order permanently enjoining enforcement of the statute as applied to internet communications on the basis that it is overbroad, is reversed and vacated, as the statute does not violate the First Amendment or the Commerce Clause because the scope of the statute is limited to personally directed electronic communications, as currently available or developed in the future. ..
U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 15, 2010 English v. Romanowski, No. 08-2611 District court’s decision to grant a conditional habeas relief on the ground that defendant’s trial counsel rendered him ineffective assistance is affirmed in part and reversed in part where: 1) district court erred in granting defendant habeas relief on the ground that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call a witness; but 2) trial counsel’s failure to adequately investigate the decision not to call the witness before trial was deficient performance to satisfy the first prong of the Strickland test and but for the counsel’s ineffectiveness, there is a reasonable probability that the outcome would have been different.
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 13, 2010 US v. Miller, No. 09-2791 District court’s imposition of a 120-month sentence upon a defendant convicted of traveling in interstate commerce to engage in prohibited sexual conduct with a fourteen-year-old girl in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 2423(b), is vacated remanded for resentencing as, the district court failed to provide sufficient support for a sentence that was fifty percent above the high end of the advisory Guidelines range.
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 15, 2010 US v. Pape , No. 09-2336 In a conviction for possession of child pornography, district court’s imposition of a 90-months sentence followed by 20 years’ supervised release is affirmed as, the district court adequately considered defendant’s arguments about his history and parenting responsibilities, and the court did not abuse its discretion when it implicitly rejected the imposition of a much lower sentence based on a disagreement with the guidelines range.
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 16, 2010 Evans v. Poskon , No. 09-3140 In a prisoner’s 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit, claiming that his fourth amendment rights were violated when the officers used excessive force during and after his arrest, district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor defendants on the ground that Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) bars defendant’s claim because his assertion that he did not oppose being taken into custody contradicts his conviction for resisting arrest is reversed as, Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384 (2007) holds that a claim that accrues before a criminal conviction may and usually must be filed without regard to the conviction’s validity, and that a claim asserting that a search or seizure violated the fourth amendment accrues immediately. Therefore, his claim that he did not resist being taken into custody is incompatible with his conviction and any proceedings based on this contention must be stayed or dismissed, but defendant’s claims that the police used excessive force to effect custody and that t! he police beat him severely even after reducing him to custody are consistent with a conviction for resisting arrest and may thus proceed.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 13, 2010 Morris v. Zefferi, No. 08-3141 In an action alleging that an officer violated plaintiff’s constitutional rights when defendant transported plaintiff, who at the time was a pretrial detainee, in a dog cage in a K-9 vehicle during a ninety-minute drive to a county courthouse, the denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity is affirmed where: 1) based on the totality of the circumstances, defendant’s decision to transport plaintiff in this manner transgressed today’s broad and idealistic concepts of dignity, civilized standards, humanity, and decency; and 2) the unconstitutionality of defendant’s alleged conduct should have been obvious to defendant based both on common sense and prior general case law.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 13, 2010 US v. Akens, No. 09-1695 Defendant’s drug and firearm conviction and sentence are affirmed where: 1) defendant’s prior Missouri conviction was a sufficient predicate for his 18 U.S.C. section 922(g)(1) conviction; 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant’s motion to withdraw the plea; and 3) defendant, in the plea agreement, waived his right to appeal sentencing-related issues.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 13, 2010 US v. Mohamed, No. 09-2349 Defendant’s conviction for conspiracy to commit mail fraud is affirmed where the indictment fully and fairly apprised defendant of the charges against him, despite the alleged variance, and therefore there was no actual prejudice.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 14, 2010 US v. Lockett, No. 09-1322 Defendant’s drug conspiracy conviction is affirmed where: 1) a witness’s testimony clearly demonstrated the existence of the agreement to distribute drugs, defendant’s knowledge of the agreement, and defendant’s participation in the agreement; 2) if residual prejudice survived the district court’s curative instruction following an improper question by the government, that prejudice was harmless when compared to the substantial evidence of defendant’s guilt; and 3) the government offered a race-neutral basis for striking a juror, and defendant did not show that the basis was a pretext for purposeful discrimination.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 15, 2010 US v. Johnson, No. 09-1407 Defendant’s firearm possession conviction is affirmed where the lateness of the hour, the van blocking the alley with its engine running, a woman in the middle seat of the van putting on clothing, and defendant moving quickly from the middle seat to the driver seat and attempting to drive away upon arrival of the squad car, provided justification for an investigatory stop. However, defendant’s sentence is reversed where defendant’s prior Minnesota conviction for fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle did not qualify as a violent felony.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 15, 2010 US v. Lopez-Mendoza, No. 09-2189 Defendant’s drug possession conviction is affirmed where: 1) an officer does not seize a person by asking for license and registration if he does not convey a message that compliance with his request is required; and 2) the officer did not exceed the scope of defendant’s consent by reasonably searching the car for drugs.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 12, 2010 Hein v. Sullivan, No. 07-56277 In a murder prosecution, the denial of petitioners’ habeas petition is affirmed where, in light of the record from the two-month-long jury trial, an undisclosed letter from the state to an eyewitness promising not to prosecute him for his drug dealing activities was not the decisively impeaching evidence petitioners made it out to be, and thus petitioners failed to establish the prejudice required to overturn their convictions.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 12, 2010 Lopez-Jacinde v. Holder, No. 07-72046 In a petition for review of the BIA’s decision that held that petitioner’s state felony conviction for possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine was a “drug trafficking crime” which constituted an “aggravated felony” under federal law, rendering petitioner statutorily ineligible for cancellation of removal, the petition is denied where: 1) use of a firearm was not required for a state conviction to constitute an aggravated felony as a “drug trafficking crime”; and 2) the federal crime corresponding to Cal. Health & Safety Code section 11383(c)(1) did not require possession of a minimum amount of pseudoephedrine.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 14, 2010 Mora-Meraz v. Thomas, No. 09-35413 In a drug possession prosecution, the denial of petitioner’s habeas petition is affirmed where the Bureau of Prisons’ unwritten requirement that petitioner present documented proof of substance use within twelve months of imprisonment to be eligible for a drug treatment program was not required to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act’s procedural requirements including: 1) the need for an agency to provide ample notice and time for comment; and 2) an agency’s explanation of its rationale for adopting a particular rule.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 15, 2010 US v. Alderman, No. 08-30322 Defendant’s firearm possession sentence is affirmed where the first degree theft crime under Washington law of which defendant was convicted was a “crime of violence” for purposes of the Guidelines enhancement, and the shooting committed by defendant was an assault under Washington law.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 15, 2010 US v. Velasquez-Bosque, No. 09-50126 In the government’s appeal from defendant’s sentence for illegal reentry into the U.S., the sentence is reversed where carjacking under California Penal Code section 215 was a categorical crime of violence under U.S.S.G. section 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii).
U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 12, 2010 US v. Martinez, No. 09-1140 Defendant’s bank robbery sentence is affirmed in part where the district court did not err in finding that defendant made a threat of death during the bank robberies and enhancing the sentence accordingly. However, defendant’s sentence is remanded because a state court vacated one of defendant’s prior convictions.
U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 12, 2010 US v. Begay, No. 09-2163 In the government’s appeal from the district court’s order dismissing with prejudice a superseding indictment charging defendant with multiple counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child in Indian Country, and directing the parties to proceed to trial on the original indictment, which charged defendant with a single count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child in Indian Country, the order is reversed where, although it was true that the government delayed seeking the superseding indictment in the sense that it had been privy for some time to the evidence underlying each count of the superseding indictment, nothing in the record established that this was the type of “unnecessary delay” envisioned by Fed. R. Crim. P. 48(b)(1).
U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 13, 2010 Armijo v. Peterson, No. 09-2114 In an action against police officers for violating the Fourth Amendment when they entered and searched plaintiff’s home and detained her son, the denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity is reversed where: 1) the Fourth Amendment evaluated reasonableness based upon what the officers reasonably believed at the time, and it did not matter that, in retrospect, information provided to the officers was wrong; and 2) the search was justified by exigent circumstances because there was an urgent need to protect those at the high school against a possible bomb threat.
U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 16, 2010 US v. McCalister, No. 09-5101 In a drug conspiracy prosecution, the denial of defendant’s motion for relief from judgment filed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) is affirmed where Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) is not available to challenge a previous denial of an 18 U.S.C. section 3582(c) motion.
U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 13, 2010 US v. Luna-Encinas, No. 08-12574 Defendant’s conviction for being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm is affirmed where the district court correctly denied defendant’s motion to suppress pre-Miranda statements he made to a police officer that led to the discovery of the firearm, because defendant was not in “custody” when he made the relevant inculpatory statements to the police.
U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 14, 2010 US v. Fowler, No. 08-15463 Defendant’s conviction for murder with the intent to prevent a person from communicating information about a federal offense to a federal law enforcement officer or judge of the U.S. is affirmed where: 1) nothing in 18 U.S.C. section 1512(a)(1)(C) required proof that a federal investigation was ongoing, imminent, or likely; and 2) several defendants involved in the conspiracy had committed federal crimes that could have led to a federal investigation and prosecution.
U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 16, 2010 US v. Lee, No. 08-17077 Defendant’s convictions for attempted enticement of a minor, attempted production of child pornography, and knowing receipt of child pornography are affirmed where: 1) it was possible for defendant to violate either 18 U.S.C. section 2422(b) or sections 2251(a) and (e) where he communicated with an adult intermediary and attempted to exploit two fictitious minor girls; and 2) a reasonable jury could have found that defendant committed the offenses charged in the indictment.
U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, April 16, 2010 US v. Becton, No. 09-3016 Defendant’s drug conspiracy conviction is affirmed where 1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in approving the prosecution’s use of wiretaps to uncover the “full nature and scope” of the conspiracy; 2) the trial court did not err in failing to hold a Franks v. Delaware hearing, since the information defendant asserted was omitted from certain affidavits was not material; and 3) the district court properly admitted the testimony pertaining to defendant’s incarceration from 2003 to 2005 as direct evidence of the charged offense.
Supreme Court of California, April 15, 2010 People v. Taylor, No. S062562 Defendant’s conviction for first-degree murder of an 80-year-old victim, forcible rape of an elderly victim while engaged in a residential burglary, and other related crimes, and sentenced to death are affirmed in its entirety and defendant’s various claims rejected, including his claim that trial court abused its discretion in denying his requests for substitution of trial counsel and claim of constitutional violations in selecting jurors in capital cases. .
California Appellate Districts, April 13, 2010 People v. Chappelone , No. A121763 In a conviction of defendants for conspiracy to commit grand theft and related offenses against Target (defendant’s employer), trial court’s imposition of a restitution order in the amount of $278,678 is reversed, as the trial court abused its discretion by awarding Target a sizable windfall when it ordered restitution in the amount that it did because rather than calculating a rough approximation.
California Appellate Districts, April 13, 2010 People v. Landon, No. A123779 In a conviction of defendant for DUI, with four prior DUI convictions, and another subsequent DUI arrest, trial court’s imposition of a four to eight months’ imprisonment is affirmed where: 1) defendant’s claim that trial court’s refusal to grant her probation based on section 1203(e)(4) violated her due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment is rejected, as she failed to establish prejudice; and 2) the amended section 4019 applies retroactively and defendant is entitled to custody credits totaling 385 days.
California Appellate Districts, April 13, 2010 People v. Reed , No. A123967 In a conviction of defendant for aggravated sexual assault of a child and related offenses and sentenced under the three strikes law to a term of 230 years to life is reversed and remanded as the trial court erred by failing to inquire into the basis for a new trial motion asserting incompetence of counsel.
California Appellate Districts, April 13, 2010 People v. Becker, No. E047898 Conviction of defendant for possession of Ecstasy and other crimes and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment is affirmed where: 1) substantial evidence supports defendant’s conviction for simple possession of Ecstasy; and 2) defendant was adequately notified of the Ecstasy possession charge.
California Appellate Districts, April 15, 2010 People v. Shafrir, No. A125880 In a prosecution of defendant for DUI and drug related charges, trial court’s grant of defendant’s motion under Penal Code section 995 to dismiss the counts alleging violations of Health and Safety Code section 11359 and 11360(a), is reversed as the CHP officers’ initial decision to remove the vehicle was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment and the magistrate’s denial of defendant’s motion to suppress evidence of marijuana and $50,000 found during the inventory search was correct.
California Appellate Districts, April 14, 2010 People v. Stacy , No. C060673 Convictions for false personation, driving under the influence of alcohol and related offenses are affirmed where there was sufficient evidence to convict defendant on the charge of false personation, as there was ample evidence to support the jury’s finding that the individual was an actual person.
California Appellate Districts, April 15, 2010 People v. Yokely, No. B213003 Conviction of defendant for murder at retrial, following district court’s grant of writ pf habeas corpus based on its findings that defendant’s constitutional rights had been violated because his attorney was not present at a live line-up at which defendant was identified as the murderer, and because his attorneys failed to object to admission of the lineup and in-court identifications by the witnesses at trial, is affirmed as, the findings of the district court did not preclude the trial court from determining independently the admissibility of the in-court identification testimony of the two witnesses and there is substantial evidence to support the trial court’s conclusion that the identification testimony of both witnesses had an origin independent of the illegal live lineup.