Criminal Law

Daily criminal law and procedure case summaries, brought to you by
  1. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversing a conviction for attempted illegal reentry and remanding for a new trial because the district court provided an incorrect supplemental instruction in response to the jury's request for clarification with the meaning of specific intent to enter free from official restraint because the instruction erroneously focused on whether the defendant was under official restraint and falsely stated that the defendant did not need to be aware of official restraint.
  2. (California Court of Appeal) - Affirming a trial court denial of a criminal defendant's motion to dismiss a grand jury indictment in a case where a plea agreement for harboring illegal aliens, misuse of visas, and minimum wage violations resulted in a second prosecution for violations of California's anti-trafficking statute which was not a Fifth Amendment double jeopardy violation because the federal crimes were not the same offense as the subsequent state human trafficking charges.
  3. (United States Fourth Circuit) - Affirming the district court's order dismissing a criminal defendant's appeal of the application of career-offender enhancements under the Sentencing Guidelines due to his prior South Carolina conviction for assault on a police officer while resisting arrest because a new Supreme Court precedent did not recognize a new right entitling the petitioner to relief, so the appeal was not timely.
  4. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Denying an application for authorization to file a second or successive habeas petition and transferring the case to district court with instructions to treat the habeas petition as a first petition because a petition seeking resentencing rather than challenging the underlying conviction, meaning that the second or successive petition bar is not triggered.
  5. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Denying petition for review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals that a Phillippines national who had been convicted of the California crime of second degree murder, aiding and abetting, was an aggravated felon and therefore removable.
  6. (United States Second Circuit) - Reversing the district court's order of exclusion of testimony by a co-defendant in a criminal prosecution who had turned government witness because the common-interest rule of attorney-client privilege does not include statements that weren't made to, in the presence of, or within the hearing of an attorney for any of the common-interest parties, nor did the statements seek the advice of or communicate advice previously given by the attorney to the common-interest parties.
  7. (United States Fourth Circuit) - Partially affirming and partially reversing the district court's decision to deny a motion to quash grand jury subpeonas demanding testimony from a criminal defendant's attorney and investigator because although the testimony sought is work product it can be compelled because it falls under the crime-fraud exception to work product privilege but the government can't ask a general opinion attempting to reach opinion work product matter.
  8. (United States Fourth Circuit) - Vacating a district court's order permitting the pretrial restraint of a defendant's innocent property, applying the Supreme Court's decision in Luis v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 1083 (2016), and overruled their precedent as to the federal criminal forfeiture statute at issue and other identically phrased restraint provisions allowing the pretrial restraint of substitute assets.
  9. (United States Third Circuit) - Affirming the District Court's ruling that a person convicted for the distribution of crack cocaine was not entitled to a sentence reduction under Amendment 782 of the US Sentencing Guidelines because he was a career offender ineligible for a reduced sentence.
  10. (California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the conviction of a 12 year old for the crime of sexual molestation against his four year old cousin because recordings were properly admitted as evidence under the vicarious parental consent doctrine where the parent of the victim surreptitiously recorded a conversation between the accused and victim.
  11. (United States First Circuit) - Affirming the conviction of a town's former chief of police, who complained that his receipt of $4,000 from the proprietors of a brothel in exchange for halting a prostitution prosecution wasn't extortion since they were glad to pay, but the court held that duress is not an element of Hobbs Act extortion.
  12. (United States Fourth Circuit) - Vacating a conviction for immigration fraud because the district court's repeated interjections expressing skepticism of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program and its negative impression of individuals who participate in the program were improper judicial intervention and the Algerian defendant was denied the opportunity for a fair and impartial trial as a result.
  13. (California Court of Appeal) - Conditionally reversing the decision in the case of a 17 year old accused of shooting a neighbor whose case was directly filed in criminal court during a time in which changes took place regarding the filing of juvenile cases in an adult court so that the juvenile court could conduct a fitness hearing to determine whether the court would have transferred the case to a court of criminal jurisdiction, in which case the conviction could stand.
  14. (United States First Circuit) - Affirming the imposition of a 72 month sentence in the case of the prosecution of a defendant for possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute synthetic cathinones, commonly called 'bath salts,' because the reference to the sentencing guidelines for methcathonine, the most closely related drug on the table, was not a clear error.
  15. (United States First Circuit) - Affirming the 60-month sentence, the top of the guideline for the conviction, and $23 million order of restitution in a securities and tax fraud prosecution of an unlicensed trader because the sentence was not unreasonable.