Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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Petitioner appealed the district court's denial of his 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion to vacate his securities fraud convictions in light of United States v. Newman, 773F.3d438 (2dCir. 2014), in which the Second Circuit reversed the insider trading convictions of two tippers. The court affirmed the judgment and held that petitioner presented no viable claim that the personal benefit challenge was unavailable to his counsel on appeal; petitioner failed to show prejudice where the personal benefit instructions he challenged were so flawed as to deny him due process; and petitioner has not demonstrated his actual innocence where the evidence contained ample evidence that petitioner was in a conspiracy to trade on the basis of non public information and that petitioner benefited financially from the trading. View "Gupta v. United States" on Justia Law

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Defendant challenged two conditions of his 2017 supervised release: a ban on accessing the Internet without prior specific permission of the court and a total ban on viewing or possessing adult pornography. The Second Circuit held that imposition of both the Internet ban and the pornography ban was substantively unreasonable on this record as these conditions were not reasonably related to the relevant sentencing factors. In this case, the court found that defendant was twice convicted over fifteen years ago, when he was twenty‐one and twenty‐two years old, of having unlawful sexual relationships with two thirteen‐year old girls, and since then has substantially, if imperfectly, complied with the terms of his extended periods of supervised release. Furthermore, the conditions imposed a greater restriction than reasonably necessary to achieve the goals of sentencing in light of defendant's crime of conviction (failure to register as a sex offender) and his criminal history. View "United States v. Eaglin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud. In this case, defendant was a tipper who did not directly trade on material, non‐public information but rather shared it with a tippee who did. The court held that the evidence was sufficient to prove his criminal intent where the jury was not required to credit defendant's deposition testimony that he intended only to brag when he tipped his friend and financial advisor about an upcoming merger, and the evidence taken as a whole permitted the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant intended his communication to lead to trading in securities of the company in question. View "United States v. Klein (Schulman)" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment granting petitioner's 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion to set aside his sentence imposed under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). The court held that any offense that satisfies the essential elements of robbery under Con. Gen. Stat. 53a-133 involves use or threat of force capable of causing pain or injury and thus qualifies as an ACCA predicate. Therefore, defendant had three prior violent felonies including his conviction under section 53a-133. View "Shabazz v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for crimes stemming from his role in drug and racketeering related murders. The court held that the evidence was sufficient to support guilty verdicts on the charged violent crimes in aid of racketeering (VICAR) counts; the court rejected both defendant's perjury challenges to the conviction; and defendant failed to show any prosecutorial misconduct in summation. However, the court vacated defendant's sentence, holding that two prosecutorial errors in response to the Efrain Johnson evidence, considered together, required vacatur. The court rejected defendant's sufficiency and constitutional challenges to his sentence. The court remanded for a new sentencing hearing. View "United States v. Aquart" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence after he was convicted of stalking his victim for seven years. The district court appropriately applied a two-level sentencing enhancement for threatened use of a dangerous weapon under USSG 2A6.2(a), (b)(1)(D)‐(E), and thus defendant's sentence was not procedurally unreasonable. The court also held that defendant's 37 month sentence was substantively reasonable where the district court considered the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors and appropriately accounted for the severity and duration of defendant's conduct and the extent of the harm inflicted on the victim. View "United States v. Yilmaz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment and held that the district court did not improperly delegate its judicial authority to the United States Probation Office when it ordered as a special condition of supervised release that defendant submit to mental health and substance abuse testing and evaluation and follow "any treatment recommendations." The court also held that defendant's sentence was not procedurally unreasonable where the district court applied an official victim enhancement under USSG 3A1.2(c)(1), and declined to grant a downward departure under USSG 5K2.23. View "United States v. Young" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Guided by its recent decision in United States v. Townsend, 897 F.3d 66 (2d Cir. 2018), the Second Circuit concluded that the phrase "controlled substance" as used in the 2014 Guidelines' definition of "felony drug trafficking offense" refers exclusively to those substances controlled under federal law. The court also held that the Arizona statute that defendant was convicted of was broader than corresponding federal law because it included substances not listed by the federal Controlled Substances Act. In this case, defendant's Arizona conviction did not qualify as a felony trafficking offense under USSG 2L1.2. Therefore, the district court procedurally erred in sentencing defendant. The court vacated the sentence and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Guerrero" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's denial of a motion for a new trial after defendant was convicted of importing and possessing with intent to distribute cocaine. The court held that the Government's pre-trial disclosure violated Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16(a)(1)(A). In this case, the Government's disclosure during an initial inspection misled the defense into forgoing a pretrial motion to suppress the statement. Furthermore, defendant suffered substantial prejudice as a result of the violation. Therefore, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Vinas" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's 240 month sentence after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The court held that, although defendant's plea agreement contained an appellate waiver, the plea agreement was not supported by consideration and the court declined to enforce it to bar defendant's appeal. On the merits, the court held that the district court did not commit procedural error when it refused to apply a 3‐level reduction under USSG 2X1.1(b)(2) for a conspiracy that ripened into a substantially completed offense or came close enough to fruition. Furthermore, defendant's sentence was substantively reasonable where the district court considered defendant's mental illness as a mitigating factor along with other sentencing factors. View "United States v. Lutchman" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law