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Aug 23, 2019

Criminal Convictions OK, but some gang members get resentencing

While members of the Double Nine Goon Syndikate failed in their challenge to their convictions because the district court did not err in empaneling an anonymous jury, in its evidentiary rulings or in its jury instructions, four of the defendants are entitled to resentencing. Background This case involves the prosecution of several members of a […]

Aug 23, 2019

Criminal Resentencing required as priors are no longer ACCA predicates

The defendant’s 220-month sentence was based on four prior convictions that rendered him an “armed career criminal.” Now, however, two of those prior convictions no longer qualify as violent felonies, thus requiring resentencing. Background Randall Cornette pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) pursuant […]

Aug 23, 2019

Criminal Federal gun charge based on state domestic violence conviction

Although the defendant claimed his federal gun charge could not be based on his Virginia conviction for domestic violence because he did not knowingly and intelligently waive his right to a jury trial in Virginia as required under federal statute, he was not entitled to a jury trial in the Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations […]

Aug 23, 2019

Civil Rights No qualified immunity for actions leading to false convictions

Where state and county law enforcement officers allegedly coerced a false confession out of two teenage boys with severe intellectual disabilities, the officers are not entitled to qualified immunity because they violated teenagers’ clearly established constitutional rights. Background This case stems from the wrongful conviction of two brothers, both teenage boys with severe intellectual disabi[...]

Aug 23, 2019

Criminal Improper exclusion of expert results in convictions being vacated

Where the trial court improperly excluded an expert who would have provided testimony material to the defendants’ defense, two defendants convicted of drug conspiracy charges are entitled to a new trial. Background A federal jury convicted Benjamin Galecki and Charles Burton Ritchie of charges related to a conspiracy to distribute controlled substance analogues. Specifically, the […]

Aug 23, 2019

Criminal Police detective did not intentionally lie in affidavit

Where the detective’s facially sufficient search warrant affidavit was imprecise, but had no proof an alleged error was intentionally or recklessly false,  the drug defendant’s post-conviction challenge to the affidavit failed. Background After a jury convicted Benitez Auguarius Moody of federal drug and firearm offenses, he sought an evidentiary hearing to challenge a facially sufficient [&h[...]

Aug 23, 2019

Administrative Pipeline thwarted by bee, clubshell, bat and isopod

For the third time, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will attempt to determine whether construction of the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline will threaten four endangered species after the conclusions in FWS’s prior opinion were found arbitrary and capricious. Background In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or FWS, issued a biological opinion […]

Aug 23, 2019

Criminal Victim of DUI may be entitled to restitution

Because a sentencing judge who denied the victim’s request for restitution erred by not articulating how he balanced various competing factors, the victim will have another opportunity to argue he should be awarded restitution as part of the drunken driving sentence. Background In June 2017, Joyce Boone injured Carlos Brown in a car accident she […]

Aug 7, 2019

Criminal First Step Act may require review of defendant’s concurrent sentence

Where a court declined to review whether a defendant’s sentence on a firearm charge was improperly enhanced under the Armed Career Criminal Act, or ACCA,because the defendant’s concurrent sentence of a drug-trafficking charge was valid, remand for evaluation was warranted. Background In 2005, Roger Dale Charles II was convicted of possession of more than 50 […]

Aug 7, 2019

Criminal Defendant not prejudiced by expedited removal order

An alien with a long history of criminal convictions and illegal entries and attempted entries into the U.S. who was indicted for attempted entry after removal based on a prior expedited removal order was entitled to challenge the underlying removal order, but could not show that it was fundamentally unfair. Background Omar Villarreal Silva, a […]

Aug 7, 2019

Civil Rights No qualified immunity for officer on constitutional deprivation claims

An officer who arrested a woman for obstruction when she attempted to shield her father-in-law’s dog from the officer who had pointed a gun, was not entitled to qualified immunity on the woman’s claims of false arrest, excessive force and malicious prosecution. Background Buddy, a 13-year-old husky-Akita mix, lives with his owner, Clifford Myers, in […]

Aug 7, 2019

Criminal Court vacates defendant’s consecutive 300-month sentence

Following the defendant’s sentence, the law changed and rendered non-criminal the conduct on which the defendant’s second firearms conviction was based. Background On Dec. 7, 2000, at the conclusion of a jury trial in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, a jury convicted Hahn of the following four counts: (1) […]

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