Criminal Law

Daily criminal law and procedure case summaries, brought to you by
  1. (United States Fourth Circuit) - Affirming the sentence in the case of a defendant charged with multiple counts of sex trafficking and related offenses where one charge had been previously vacated and the case returned to district court for a resentencing that resulted in the same term of prison because their sentence of 420 months was well within the 360 month to life guidelines.
  2. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversing the grant of habeas corpus relief because the petitioner failed to exhaust available state court remedies and because the claim was untimely filed.
  3. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming the district court's denial of defendant's motion for relief from judgment where they alleged that the government's misrepresentations throughout the investigation and trial constituted a fraud on the court because the defendant did not demonstrate fraud on the court it discovered before settlement and none of the after-discovered information established fraud on the court within the meaning of the law.
  4. (California Court of Appeal) - Reversing the trial court's denial of a petition for conditional release by an individual confined to a state hospital for over 20 years where their continued detention was based upon an expert witness's testimony with respect to hearsay evidence upon which they based their opinion, which was determined to be a violation of the subsequently issued Sanchez rule.
  5. (United States Second Circuit) - Vacating and remanding the conviction of Sheldon Silver, former Speaker of the NY State Assembly for fraud, extortion, and money laundering, holding that the Supreme Court's decision in McDonnell rendered the district court's instructions on honest services fraud and extortion erroneous in light of McDonnell, but rejecting challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence overall.
  6. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Vacating and remanding the judgment in a case involving the use of excessive force by a police officer where the jury instruction regarding the legal justification for the use of deadly force by a police officer did not comply with the requirements set forth in Rasanen v. Doe, 723 F.3d 325 (2d Cir. 2013).
  7. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversing an order denying a criminal defendant's petition for resentencing and remanding for a risk determination in the case of a convict whose prior conviction in Texas could render him ineligible for resentencing despite having taken place in another state, but was not rendered ineligible because the specific conviction at issue might not have been classed as a murder in California.
  8. (United States Second Circuit) - Reversing the district court's order redacting and unsealing the report issued by a monitor pursuant to a deferred prosecution agreement entered into by HSBC because the report was not a judicial document relevant to the performance of the judicial function.
  9. (California Court of Appeal) - Remanding a criminal case, appealed on account of claims of ineffective assistance of counsel who failed to raise a Williamson defense, and contending that the court erred in imposing penalty assessments and requiring the payment of attorney's fees, the court held that the Williamson defense did not apply to the facts but remanded for a recalculation of fees and penalties and to assess the defendant's ability to pay.
  10. (United States First Circuit) - Denying a petition for rehearing where the defendant was prevented from advancing an entrapment defense, distinguishing the facts from those of US v. Gendron, because the defendant failed to establish that a government agent requested, encouraged, or instructed a middleman to employ a specified improper inducement.
  11. (California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the lower court's denial of a motion to suppress a firearm and methamphetamines uncovered in an inventory search when the defendant was arrested for leaving a restaurant and a motion to suppress evidence of the defendant's prior possession of the same type of ammunition that was introduced to impeach his specific testimony suggesting the evidence had been planted by the police.
  12. (Supreme Court of California) - Affirming the Court of Appeal's decision that a protocol designed to limit the detention of minors found incompetent to stand trial lacked the force of law and therefore did not violate due process.
  13. (United States Second Circuit) - Denying the appeal of a judge convicted of 21 counts of public-corruption-related offenses, finding that subsequent decisions narrowing the interpretation of an 'official act' within the meaning of the federal bribery statute did not result in a plain error in the district court's instructions at trial.
  14. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming the district court's issuance of a sentence prior to adjudicating the guilt of a Mexican national with criminal convictions who repeatedly entered the country without authorization and their application of a 16-level enhancement of the sentence, holding that there was an implied acceptance of the plea by the court and that the enhancement was merited given the nature of the prior conviction for a crime of violence.
  15. (United States First Circuit) - Affirming the application of a penalty enhancement for death occurring during the commission of an offense in a case involving a plot to smuggle migrants from the Dominican Republic to the United States.