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Tag Archives: Enhancement

Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Enhancement – ‘Vulnerable Victim’ (access required)

U.S. v. Etoty A defendant who, from a Florida jail, appropriated a social security number and identity belonging to a disabled woman in Florida, has her sentence for social security fraud and aggravated identity theft increased under the sentencing guidelines’ “vulnerable victim” enhancement, in this decision from the 4th Circuit.

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Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Enhancement – Prior Conviction – Sexual Abuse (access required)

U.S. v. Spence The 4th Circuit upholds an enhanced sentence for a defendant convicted of possession of child pornography, based on his prior conviction under South Carolina common law for “assault and battery of a high aggravated nature”; the district court did not err in holding that the prior conviction qualified as a predicate offense under the sexual abuse enhancement under 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(b)(2).

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Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Enhancement – Perjury – Insufficient Findings (access required)

U.S. v. Perez In order to enhance a defendant’s sentence for obstruction of justice based on perjury, the sentencing court must make findings to clearly establish that a defendant gave false testimony on a material matter with willful intent to deceive. Because the trial court here failed to make the necessary findings, defendant’s enhanced sentence is reversed.

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Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Drug Trafficking – Enhancement – Prior State Conviction – Marijuana Possession (access required)

U.S. v. Simmons The en banc 4th Circuit vacates a North Carolina defendant’s federal drug trafficking sentence that was enhanced because of a prior state conviction for marijuana possession, in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision from last year that casts doubt on the practice of treating minor state crimes as serious felonies.

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