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Short Wins – the “I’m not dead edition”

Gentle readers,

I have been remiss in my postings of late. Apologies. Here is, in one place, a mass of cases from the last few weeks.


To the Victories!

1155650_berlin_siegessule.jpg1. United States v. Dominic Pelligrino, Second Circuit.pdf
Appellant Pellegrino was charged with having violated New York’s narcotics laws and pleaded guilty in state court. Although the circuit court found his arguments on appeal without merit, they act nostra sponte to hold that it was an error not to apply the civil forfeiture standards established by the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000. This led to the district courts verdict being vacated and remanded.

2. United States v. Arqueta-Ramos, Ninth Circuit.pdf
The case of Delicia Arqueta-Ramos illegally entering the United States was vacated and remanded on the grounds that she took a plea en masse. The circuit court held that district court did not err by advising the defendants of their rights en masse, however it did err but not questioning the defendant individually to ensure she understood her rights.

3. United States v. Haggerty, Tenth Circuit.pdf
After pleading guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute and one count of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, Haggerty appealed his seventy-two-month sentence. His case was reversed and remanded due to the district court’s failure to consider United States Sentencing Guidelines for a one-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility.

4. United States v. Royal, Fourth Circuit.pdf
Royal was convicted by a jury of unlawfully possessing ammunition was sentenced the 188 months imprisonment after it was determined that he is an armed career criminal under the ACCA. Upon his appeal his sentence was affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for resentencing due to the Supreme Court’s recent holding in Descamps v. United States regarding imposition of the ACCA sentencing enhancement.

5. United States v. Liu, Ninth Circuit.pdf
Liu’s convictions and sentencing for criminal copyright infringement and trafficking in counterfeit labels were vacated and remanded for two reasons: (1) the jury was improperly instructed to the criminal statutes of acting “willfully” and “knowingly” at the time of the offense; (2) Liu’s counsel was ineffective by failing to raise an obvious statute-of-limitation defense.

6. United States v. Lang, Eleventh Circuit.pdf
After being charged with 70 counts of Lang’s case was vacated and remanded with directions to dismiss the indictment on the grounds that the indictment was “so defective that it does not, by any reasonable construction, charge an offense for which the defendant is convicted.”

7. United States v. Chandler, Fifth Circuit.pdf
The 420 month sentence Chandler received for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise was vacated and remanded for re-sentencing because 127 months of sentencing imposed on Chandler was partially based on the fact that he was a police officer at the time of the offense. After reviewing the case, the fifth circuit court determined that his status of police officer did not justify the increased sentence.

8. United States v. Gomez, Ninth Circuit.pdf
Appellant Gomez’s case was affirmed in part and vacated in part, and remanded. The court affirmed his indictment charging him with illegal reentry. His sentence for sexual conduct with a minor was vacated and remanded due to the court’s incorrect imposition of a sixteen-level sentencing enhancement by the district court.

9. United States v. Nelson, Fifth Circuit.pdf
Nelson’s conviction for soliciting and receiving bribes as a government official was affirmed, but his sentence was vacated and remanded. This occurred because the district court failed to provide enough evidence to support their decision to apply the Sentencing Guideline that permits the court to increase the offense level corresponding to the bribery amount. The district court valued the bribery amount to be $6,382,000 but only had sufficient evidence to support a claim of $250,000.

10. United States v. Rufai, Tenth Circuit.pdf
All of Mr. Rufai’s convictions of aiding and abetting health care fraud charge were reversed due to the absence of sufficient evidence. The district court failed to provide sufficient evidence that demonstrates that Mr. Rufai knowingly and willfully participated in fraud.

11. United States v. Rodriguez, Eleventh Circuit.pdf
Rodriquez’s conviction was affirmed, but his sentence was reversed and remanded. The circuit court ruled that the district court had enough evidence to support that Mr. Rodriguez had committed wire, however they did not have enough evidence to support the claim that there were more than 50 victims. This led the circuit court to remand the conviction to the district court for resentencing with a 2-level enhancement rather than a 4-level enhancement.

12. United States v. Moore, Fifth Circuit.pdf
Defendant Moore pleaded guilty to one count for her role in a conspiracy to steal mail from six collection boxes. She appeals her sentence on the grounds that her recommended enhancement was miscalculated. The court ruled that Moore was correct and that she should have only received a 4-level enhancement not the 6-level enhancement she was given. Her sentence was vacated and remanded for resentencing.

13. United States v. Smith, Tenth Circuit.pdf
After pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud, Mr. Smith was assigned a total offense level of 16, a criminal history category of VI, and sentenced to a term of 180 months’ imprisonment on each count of wire fraud. The court ordered these sentences run concurrently and consecutively to a Kansas state sentence Mr. Smith is serving for burglaries and thefts underlying the fraud offenses. This sentence was reversed and remanded on the grounds of a sentencing disparity argument the court found to be a reversible error.

14. United States v. North, Fifth Circuit.pdf
North appeals the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence from interception of his cellular phone. The court reversed the denial of his motion on the grounds that the FBI agents recording his call failed to perform minimization efforts and remanded the case for further proceedings.

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