Criminal Law

Daily criminal law and procedure case summaries, brought to you by
  1. (United States Second Circuit) - Affirming the conviction and sentence of a man for mail fraud, conspiracy, and theft of government property by the district court because the defendant waived his challenge to the jury instructions by proposing instructions that were nearly identical and his sentence was not procedurally unreasonable because it was not in plain error.
  2. (United States Second Circuit) - Affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment to the defendant FedEx because the plaintiff, who complained of inflated shipping and customs charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) because the plaintiff failed to adduce evidence that FedEx Corp/Services, the alleged Rico 'persons,' are distinct from FedEx Ground, the alleged RICO enterprise.
  3. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Remanding a case for resentencing on a charge of illegal reentry because an enhancement had been applied for defendants who had been convicted for a felony offense where the sentence imposed was two or more years prior to their first removal from the country because the defendant had initially been sentenced to a year in prison, a sentence that was later changed to three years when his probation was revoked upon return to the United States because the qualifying prior felony conviction did not result in the required sentence until after his initial removal.
  4. (United States First Circuit) - Affirming convictions for drug and gun offenses because the convictions were not the result of error, the admission of testimony by the handler of a narcotics-detecting dog was proper, and the district court did not err in calculating the sentence.
  5. (United States First Circuit) - Affirming convictions for robbery and drug conspiracy in a case where the defendant's former accomplice was apprehended by DEA agents and flipped to become a government witness because the joinder of drug conspiracy and robbery charges did not violate Federal Rules of Civil Procedure due to the relationship between the criminal acts, evidence was properly admitted, and an erroneous ruling against the defendant was harmless given the overwhelming evidence against him.
  6. (California Court of Appeal) - Reversing the order of the juvenile court directing the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency to immediately remove a woman's child from her care if there was any evidence that the child was exposed to his stepfather or if the mother violated a restraining order arising from his domestic violence against them because the mother had not received notice she would be a restrained party, violating her procedural and substantive due process.
  7. (United States First Circuit) - Affirming the district court's denial of a writ of habeas corpus arising from convictions for first-degree murder, counts of armed robbery, and unlawful possession of a firearm because the admission of a witness's plea agreement was not prejudicial where the court made instruction regarding the inferences that could be drawn from the plea, flaws in jury instruction did not result in an unreasonable application of due process law, and counsel was not ineffective as a result of several decisions made in the course of the trial relating to strategy.
  8. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversing the district court's denial of qualified immunity for Tucson police officers for charges of unconstitutional seizure and excessive force in the use of deadly force against a man who was shot when he attacked the officers while growling and wielding a broken hockey stick during the warrantless entry into a vacant apartment because the plaintiff lacked standing to assert Fourth Amendment violations for the warrantless entry and seizure of a vacant apartment and the officers would not have known that shooting him violated a clearly established right, rendering deadly force acceptable in such situations.
  9. (United States Third Circuit) - Affirming the district court's findings regarding the number of victims of a multi-million dollar real estate Ponzi scheme who suffered substantial financial hardship as defined by the US Sentencing Guidelines, but vacating and remanding because the court erred in imposing the five-year occupational restriction on his three-year term of supervised release because it exceeded the statutory maximum.
  10. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Denying the petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals decision adopting the Immigration Judge's reasoning that a person convicted under Arizona's misdemeanor domestic violence assault statute was removable becasue although the offense categorically did not fit the definition of a crime of violence it did fit the federal generic definition of a crime of domestic violence under the modified categorical approach.
  11. (California Court of Appeal) - Granting a writ of habeas corpus in the case of a man, held by the sheriff because he had failed to complete a work release program in 2010, whose probation expired in 2012, and was not arrested until 2017 because holding him when his probation expired and detaining him without a hearing violated due process.
  12. (United States First Circuit) - Granting certification of a successive motion to vacate the federal sentence because the Supreme Court declared that the Armed Career Criminal Act's residual clause definition of a violent felony was unconstitutionally vague.
  13. (California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the denial of the motion to suppress evidence recovered from the warrant-less search of the cellphone while they were on probation and subject to general search conditions that allowed searches of her property and personal effects because a reasonable objective person would understand that a cellphone is included within this
  14. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming the denial of a petition for writ of habeas corpus in case of a man found guilty of kidnapping and first degree felony murder with a history of convictions for sexual incidents involving children because the imposition of a death sentence was reasonable, claims that FBI agents planted evidence lacked any support, and ineffective assistance of trial counsel claims that were not raised in state court lacked merit because the attorney's conduct was reasonable and the defendant hadn't wanted to pursue mental health claims at the time of the trial.
  15. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming the district court denial of a habeas corpus petition by a man sentenced to death for the murder of a couple that resided next door to his father because he received constitutionally adequate notice of the imposition of the attempted rape special circumstance when the second amended information alleged that the defendant engaged in the commission of rape, sufficiently apprising him of the possible application of the relevant enhancement.