FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Criminal

Daily criminal law and procedure case summaries, brought to you by FindLaw.com.

US v. Martin

(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.
Posted: August 15, 2017, 8:00 am

In Re: Trever P.

(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.
Posted: August 14, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Giggey

(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.
Posted: August 14, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Buffis

(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.
Posted: August 14, 2017, 8:00 am

P. v. Pineda, Jr.

(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.
Posted: August 14, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Lefsih

(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.
Posted: August 14, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Olson

(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.
Posted: August 14, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Gjeli

(United States Third Circuit) - Remanding a set of preliminary orders of forfeiture holding two defendants joint and severally liable for more than $5 million in proceeds from racketeering activities connected to loan sharking and illegal gambling because the Supreme Court decision in Honeycutt v. US reviewed the forfeiture statute at issue and held that joint and several liability in such cases is unauthorized.
Posted: August 11, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Pagan Walker

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the imposition of a 60 month sentence for the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon where the accused entered into a plea agreement and their offense level suggested a guideline range of 30 to 37 months because the court's failure to provide a written statement of their reasoning in imposing the sentence was not a procedural error and its rejection of mitigating factors and weight given to the need for deterrence were not substantive errors.
Posted: August 11, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Smith

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming the district court's denial of intervention in the case of a qui tam action taken against a podiatrist who was engaged in making fraudulent Medicare, Medicaid, and Medi-Cal claims because a criminal forfeiture action is not an alternate remedy to a qui tam action, so relators cannot intervene in the criminal action and recover a share of the proceeds.
Posted: August 10, 2017, 8:00 am

P v. Brown

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the conviction of a man for pimping minors because an underage prostitute who helped with his activities could be considered an uncharged co-conspirator for the purpose of producing hearsay evidence, the human trafficking statute was not void for vagueness and similarities between that law and the pandering statute were not unconstitutional.
Posted: August 10, 2017, 8:00 am

P v. Brown

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the conviction of a man for pimping minors because an underage prostitute who helped with his activities could be considered an uncharged co-conspirator for the purpose of producing hearsay evidence, the human trafficking statute was not void for vagueness and similarities between that law and the pandering statute were not unconstitutional.
Posted: August 10, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Figueroa

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming a conviction for three charges relating to a fraudulent scheme to obtain disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) because the evidence was sufficient, Facebook posts were properly admitted, and the explanation for sentencing was adequate.
Posted: August 9, 2017, 8:00 am

Boggala v. Sessions

(United States Fourth Circuit) - Denying the petition for review of the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals finding an Indian national lawful permanent resident removable and inadmissible due to a North Carolina deferred prosecution for solicitation of a child by computer to commit a sex act because the individual's factual stipulations in the course of the prosecution were sufficient to establish his guilt.
Posted: August 9, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Browder

(United States Second Circuit) - In a case involving violations of probation by a man convicted for possession of child pornography the court affirmed the imposition of computer monitoring because the condition was reasonable, but reversed a ruling that he violated probation by refusing to participate in treatment whose conditions included barring him from contacting his own children unless approved by the Probation Office since this was in conflict with the express condition of supervised release earlier ordered by the District Court.
Posted: August 8, 2017, 8:00 am

Greenway v. Ryan

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming the district court's consideration of all of the evidence submitted in connection with the habeas corpus petition of a man convicted in the brutal slaying of a mother and daughter because the evidence was found to be insufficient to outweigh the serious aggravating factors in the case and accordingly was not in violation of a clearly established federal law.
Posted: August 8, 2017, 8:00 am

Humbert v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City

(United States Fourth Circuit) - Reversing and remanding the district court's striking of a substantial damages award in the case of a man suing for deprivation of his liberty after he was held for over a year in pretrial solitary confinement and the police failed to inform the State's Attorney that there was no positive identification and that DNA reports excluded him as a suspect in a sexual assault case because false statements by the police rendered them ineligible for qualified immunity.
Posted: August 7, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Ferriero

(United States Third Circuit) - Affirming judgments of conviction, forfeiture, and sentencing based on violations of the RICO Act and federal wire fraud statutes arising from payments received in exchange for recommending to officials in towns to hire the bribing firm because New Jersey's bribery statute is not unconstitutionally vague and did not present issues with federalism.
Posted: August 4, 2017, 8:00 am

Millhouse v. Heath

(United States Third Circuit) - Vacating a district court order denying a prisoner the right to proceed in forma pauperis because regardless of whether events that occurred after the filing of his appeal were taken into consideration the prison had not acquired the number of strikes necessary to render him ineligible.
Posted: August 4, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Chapman

(United States Third Circuit) - Affirming the application of a career offender enhancement to a sentence calculation because a prior conviction for mailing a communication with a threat to injure the person of the addressee or another was considered to be a crime of violence within the Guidelines.
Posted: August 4, 2017, 8:00 am

P v. Gandy

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming a conviction that included enhancement on account of out-of-state convictions because although a defendant can collaterally attack prior convictions as the defendant did in this case his plea was regardless upheld because it was voluntary and intelligent under the totality of the circumstances.
Posted: August 3, 2017, 8:00 am

P v. Echavarria

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing the conviction in a first-degree murder case because the jury may have heard discussion of punishment that introduced substantial and actual bias, rendering other claims for relief moot.
Posted: August 3, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Phillipos

(United States First Circuit) - Denying a petition for rehearing because the record of the district court's denial of testimony on the voluntariness of a confession was not unreasonable emphasizing that the defendant's failure to commit to cross-examination on the statements that were contested rendered an examination of the credibility of the allegations problematic.
Posted: August 3, 2017, 8:00 am

Ildefonso-Candelario v. Attorney General of the United States

(United States Third Circuit) - Granting a petition for the review of a Board of Immigration Appeals determination that an a Mexican national was ineligible for cancellation of removal on account of a prior conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude and remanding for further proceedings because the conviction for obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function encompasses acts that are not morally turpitudinous.
Posted: August 3, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. DiDonna

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming a conviction for extortion because the evidence was sufficient, but reversing a conviction for attempting to collect an extension of credit by extortionate means because the evidence was insufficient to find that the defendant made an extension of credit.
Posted: August 2, 2017, 8:00 am

P v. Singh

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming a conviction for first degree murder because the admission of handwritten rap lyrics, permitting alternate jurors to hear testimony read back, and denying a motion for a new trial based on new exculpatory evidence were not errors on the part of the trial court.
Posted: August 2, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Maclaren

(United States Fourth Circuit) - Vacating and remanding a court's denial of a discharge hearing in the case of an individual civilly committed under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act because qualification for a discharge hearing merely requires that the detainee plausibly allege their entitlement to discharge.
Posted: August 2, 2017, 8:00 am

P v. J.C.

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing a dispositional order and remanding for an age-appropriate risk assessment, but also holding that mandatory lifetime sex offender registration is not cruel and unusual punishment because it has not been established that registration is punishment.
Posted: August 2, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Ellison

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the ten year prison sentence because the conviction for robbery by force, violence, or intimidation qualified as a crime of violence and the enhancement statute was not unconstitutionally vague.
Posted: August 2, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Vega-Rivera

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the district court's decision to decline to follow a plea agreement's recommendations and instead impose a term of imprisonment on the high end of the guidelines and a two-level penalty enhancement, because the sentence was substantively reasonable.
Posted: August 2, 2017, 8:00 am

In Re D.W.

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing the jurisdictional findings because a search of an individual who smelled of marijuana and admitted to having recently smoked the substance lacked cause for a custodial arrest and presented no evidence of guilt of anything greater than an infraction.
Posted: August 2, 2017, 8:00 am

Haskell v. Superintendent Greene SCI

(United States Third Circuit) - Granting a habeas petition challenging a conviction in the case of a shooting death that was prosecuted years later and involved testimony by a witness that they expected to receive nothing in return for their statements thought both the witness and prosecutor were aware that the statement was untrue.
Posted: August 1, 2017, 8:00 am

Andrews v. Davis

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversing the district court's grant of relief in an ineffective assistance claim because the California Supreme Court did not unreasonably apply precedent in concluding that counsel's failure to investigate and present additional mitigating evidence at penalty phase in a capital murder trial did not prejudice the defendant, dismissing as unripe a challenge to the use of lethal injection, denying an appeal for uncertified claims, and holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying a motion for an evidentiary hearing.
Posted: August 1, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Mulero-Algarin

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming the decision to impose a sentence of incarceration set to run consecutively to the sentence in a criminal matter that resulted in the revocation of supervised release and the imposition of this new term of incarceration because there was no procedural error and the sentence was not substantively unreasonable.
Posted: July 31, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Seminole

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming the defendant's convictions for strangling and assaulting his wife in a case where the court compelled the wife to testify against her husband because the marital privileges do not apply where the spouse is the victim of the defendant's crime.
Posted: July 31, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Wrensford

(United States Third Circuit) - Vacating and remanding the conviction of one individual allegedly involved in a shooting in the Virgin Islands to determine whether an exception to the Fourth Amendment rendered evidence admissible that was collected while the suspect was arrested without probable cause and whether a new trial is merited, but also affirming the conviction of a co-defendant who waived their challenge to suppression rulings and that the court did not abuse its discretion.
Posted: July 31, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Barinas

(United States Second Circuit) - Affirming the revocation of supervised release against an extradited defendant because the imposition of this penalty did not violate the rule-of-specialty limiting prosecutions for those extradited and because the term of his supervised release was tolled during the time when he was a fugitive.
Posted: July 28, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Martinez-Lopez

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Affirming the enhancement of a conviction for illegal reentry following deportation after concluding that a prior conviction qualified as a federal drug trafficking offense under the modified categorical approach and holding that the sentence was substantively reasonable where the defendant had a prior guilty plea to the crime of selling cocaine.
Posted: July 28, 2017, 8:00 am

Weingarten v. US

(United States Second Circuit) - Affirming the denial of a petition arguing that the petitioner's attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel when they conceded that charges were timely under the applicable statute of limitations before the trial where they were convicted of sexually abusing their daughter, but the court felt that counsel's decision to forego statutes of limitations arguments was not objectively unreasonable.
Posted: July 27, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Azcona-Polanco

(United States Third Circuit) - Affirming the imposition of supervised release on a foreign national who was repeatedly removed and illegally reentered the United States illegally because although deportable immigrants are presumptively exempt from such a penalty the decision was not in clear error and further affirming that the sentence of imprisonment in the matter was not substantively unreasonable.
Posted: July 27, 2017, 8:00 am

P. v. Arredondo

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming that there was no confrontation clause violation in a case involving sex offenses against the defendant's four girls, three stepdaughters, and a friend who were allowed to stand as witnesses with a computer monitor raised so that they could testify without having to see the defendant.
Posted: July 27, 2017, 8:00 am

In Re David T.

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversing and remanding the appeal of a decision denying a motion to seal juvenile records because the court order setting aside a robbery finding and dismissing the petition erased it as if it never existed, rendering the refusal to seal the records improper.
Posted: July 26, 2017, 8:00 am

In Re Palmer

(California Court of Appeal) - Granting a petition and ordering the parole board to hold a new hearing in the case of an inmate, convicted as a juvenile, where the parole board had previously failed to calculate and consider base sentence terms as required by the Butler settlement.
Posted: July 26, 2017, 8:00 am

P. v. Casillas

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirming a postjudgment order denying a petition to reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor pursuant to Proposition 47 that was denied because the petitioner had a 'super strike' offense.
Posted: July 26, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Muchison

(United States First Circuit) - Affirming the judge's decision not to strike paragraphs from the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report relating to criminal acts that did not impact sentencing but might impact the Bureau of Prison's classification and the availability of drug treatment programs and affirming that a sentence that included a significant downward variance was not unreasonable.
Posted: July 26, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Diaz

(United States Fourth Circuit) - Vacating the order of restitution in the case of a man who rushed the cockpit of a flight and pleaded guilty to interference with flight crew members and attendants where the court ordered restitution under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act inappropriately instead of the restitution required under the Victim and Witness Protection Act.
Posted: July 26, 2017, 8:00 am

P. v. Estrada

(Supreme Court of California) - Affirming the judgment that the court may deny resentencing under the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012 where facts underlying counts dismissed pursuant to a plea agreement revealed that the inmate was armed during the commission of one of the offenses.
Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:00 am

P. v. DeLeon

(Supreme Court of California) - Reversing and remanding a Court of Appeals ruling that the transfer of jurisdiction over parole revocation hearings from the Board of Parole Hearings to the Superior Courts eliminated the right to a preliminary hearing after arrest to determine whether there is probable cause to find a parole violation.
Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:00 am

US v. Huertas

(United States Second Circuit) - Affirming the denial of defendant's motion to suppress a firearm that resulted in a plea of guilty to being a felon in possession of a weapon because a police officer responding to an alert of a man lurking with a gun in the area, shining a spotlight, and asking questions to which the defendant responded and which subsequently led to the discovery of his bag and a firearm did not amount to a submission to police authority or a seizure.
Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:00 am

Coelho v. Sessions

(United States First Circuit) - Remanding the appeal of a Board of Immigration Appeals decision that the Massachusetts crime of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is categorically a crime involving moral turpitude to determine what effect Matter of Wu has on their decision, how prior statements about reasonableness impact the analysis of recklessness and moral depravity related to the subject crime, and whether the defendant was convicted of an intentional or reckless offense.
Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:00 am