Articles Posted in Criminal Law

by
The Second Circuit vacated defendant's sentence of 60 months in prison, nearly three times the top of the Guidelines range, after he pleaded guilty to one count of illegally reentering the United States after having been removed following a conviction for an aggravated felony. In the context of the Sentencing Commission's statistics for illegal reentry cases and all the circumstances here, the court was not persuaded that the justification offered by the district court was sufficient to support the magnitude of the variance. The court also held that there may have been factual errors in the district court's discussion of the record and the district court's reluctance to credit defendant's acceptance of responsibility (although it did so in the end) suggested that the district court may have conflated defendant's statements in mitigation with a failure to accept responsibility. Accordingly, the court remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Singh" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court's decision in Rodriguez v. United States, ––– U.S. –––, 135 S. Ct. 1609 (2015), abrogated the Second Circuit's holding in United States v. Harrison, 606 F.3d 42, 45 (2d Cir. 2010). In this case, the court held that the extension of defendant's traffic stop violated the Fourth Amendment. Nonetheless, the court held that the good‐faith exception to the exclusionary rule applied because the officers reasonably relied on the court's then‐binding precedent. Furthermore, the district court did not clearly err in concluding that the initial traffic stop was valid and that defendant consented to the searches. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Gomez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner argued that the introduction at his trial, during the testimony of an expert lab analyst, of a case file concerning DNA testing of petitioner's buccal cheek swab and containing notations made by the expert's coworkers, analysts whom the State did not call to the stand, violated petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against him. The court held that the Supreme Court cases on which petitioner relied neither clearly established his entitlement to cross‐examine the analysts who prepared the informal, unsworn documents in the case file introduced as evidence at his trial, nor provided a basis for concluding that the state court judgment was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established law. View "Washington v. Griffin" on Justia Law

by
Although the Second Circuit agreed with the district court that defendant's substantive due process rights were violated when prison officials assigned plaintiff, who was then a pretrial detainee, to Administrative Segregation, the court held that defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. In this case, defendant was discharged from Administrative Segregation and released, arrested again on new drug-related offenses, and then re-admitted into Administrative Segregation. The court held that the law was not clearly established at the time that a substantive due process violation would result from plaintiff's placement in Administrative Segregation based solely on his prior assignment to (and failure to complete) that program. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's judgment for plaintiff. View "Allah v. Milling" on Justia Law

by
Defendant appealed his 180 month sentence after he was convicted of assaulting a federal officer and was sentenced as a career offender. In light of Beckles v. United States, 137 S. Ct. 886 (2017), the Second Circuit found that New York first‐degree robbery categorically qualifies as a crime of violence under the residual clause and the court therefore need not address defendant's argument based on the force clause. The court also found that defendant's sentence was substantively reasonable. Accordingly, the court affirmed the sentence and remanded for further considerations. View "United States v. Jones" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Second Circuit granted in part and denied in part a motion to abate David Brooks' offenses related to fraud and securities laws. Brooks was the founder, Chair of the Board of Directors, and CEO of DHB Industries, a publicly traded company. The court held that Brooks' counts of conviction resulting from the verdict abated with his death, but not the counts resulting from his guilty plea. The court also held that the bail bond subscribed by Brooks and his family remained forfeited. Finally, the order of restitution related to the fraud and securities laws counts was abated but not the order of restitution related to the tax counts. View "United States v. Brooks" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Second Circuit held that its appellate jurisdiction extended to defendant's challenges to both his conviction and sentences for various fraud and theft charges. In this case, the notice of appeal form stated defendant's intent to appeal his judgment of conviction and his narrower designation of issues appeared only in an administrative section of the same form. On the merits, the court affirmed the conviction and sentence, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support defendant's conviction for mail fraud; the district court did not improperly instruct the jury regarding the materiality element for the mail fraud counts; and the district court did not commit procedural error by applying the Guidelines' loss calculations. View "United States v. Caltabiano" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress physical evidence that he had body-packed narcotics into Vermont. The court held that police were not under an obligation to release defendant after x-rays taken pursuant to a search warrant did not reveal evidence that he was body-packing; suppression was not an appropriate remedy in this case for failure to comply with the 48‐hour rule established by County of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44 (1991), because such failure was not the cause of the officers' discovery that defendant was, in fact, body‐packing narcotics; and applying the framework established in McLaughlin, the evidence adduced by defendant did not reveal that the police unreasonably delayed his Gerstein hearing. View "United States v. Pabon" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence of 180 months in prison after he was convicted of assaulting a federal officer. In light of Beckles v. United States, 137 S. Ct. 886 (2017), which held that the residual clause of the Career Offender Guideline—a second basis for finding a crime of violence—was not unconstitutional, the court held that New York first‐degree robbery categorically qualifies as a crime of violence under the residual clause and the court need not address defendant's argument based on the force clause. The court also held that defendant's sentence was substantively reasonable. View "United States v. Jones" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Petitioner challenged the denial of his habeas corpus relief in regard to his state convictions for criminal impersonation and forgery. The Second Circuit held that four of the criminal impersonation convictions must be vacated under Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, 382 U.S. 87 (1965), but that five of them were reliably supported by the evidence; the criminal impersonation statute was not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad; the criminal forgery statute, as interpreted by the trial court and the court of appeals, was so clearly overbroad as to be facially unconstitutional notwithstanding AEDPA deference; and thus the court narrowed the statute to save it, and granted the habeas petition as to some (but not all) of the forgery convictions. View "Golb v. Attorney General of the State of New York" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law