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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to reduce his sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2). Although the district court concluded defendant was eligible to have his sentence reduced, it denied the motion after considering defendant's leadership role in the drug conspiracies, the large scale of the narcotics distribution operation, the purity of the narcotics involved, and that the sentence was determined upon applying a variance. The court held that the district court did not err procedurally or abuse its discretion in denying defendant's motion to reduce his sentence. View "United States v. Galaviz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Petitioners, CREW and its executive director, filed suit alleging that the Commission acted "contrary to law" in 2015 when it dismissed their administrative complaint against an unincorporated association. On appeal, CREW raised the judicial review provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The DC Circuit affirmed, holding that the Commission's dismissal of the complaint constituted the "agency action" supporting the district court's jurisdiction. In this case, the district court held that the Commission's explanation of its failure to prosecute was a rational exercise of prosecutorial discretion. The court dismissed CREW's arguments to the contrary. The court addressed remaining issues and the dissent's position before affirming the judgment. View "Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. FEC" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit joined its sister circuits and held that defendant was ineligible for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2) because Amendment 782 does not lower the sentencing range in the career-offender provision of the Sentencing Guidelines. In 2012, defendant pleaded guilty to unlawful distribution of more than 28 grams of cocaine base and was sentenced to 156 months in prison. The court held that the fact that Amendment 782 lowered the sentencing range for defendant's underlying offense did not support a sentence reduction under Section 3582(c)(2). Furthermore, a reduction of defendant's sentence would not be consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "United States v. Akers" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The DC Circuit granted a petition seeking review of the Board's determination that the issuance of a letter seeking union dues from employees of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hawaii, who formally declined full membership in the union, was not an unfair labor practice. The court held that the Board's determination, that the letter was an obvious mistake and no reasonable employee reading it would have felt pressured to pay the demanded full union membership dues, was legally unsupportable on the record. In this case, the letter demanded payment from individuals the union knew had rejected full membership, and it simultaneously initiated the garnishment process to collect the full dues. Therefore, the letter reasonably tended to coerce or restrain the objecting Hyatt employees in the exercise of their statutory right to limit their association with the union. The court vacated the Board's decision and remanded for further proceedings. View "Tamosiunas v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit held that substantial evidence supported the Board's determination that petitioners violated Sections 8(a)(1) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 158(a)(1), (5), when they refused to recognize the Union that represented Island's collective bargaining unit as the representative of Verde's workers, and when they failed to apply the terms of Island's collective bargaining agreement to Verde. In this case, the Board determined that Verde was not a separate and independent employer, but merely Island's alter ego. Furthermore, Island's insistence that the Union renounce any present or future claim to represent workers at Verde violated the Act. Therefore, the court denied the petitions for review and granted the Board's cross-application for enforcement. View "Island Architectural Woodwork v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Defendants Stoddard and Woodruff were convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin. Defendant Cobble, who was tried together with Stoddard and Woodruff, was acquitted of the same charges but convicted of conspiracy to launder money. The DC Circuit affirmed the denial of defendants' motions to suppress evidence obtained as a result of wiretaps because the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the Government had met the "necessity" requirement; affirmed the denial of Stoddard's and Woodruff's motions for acquittal; affirmed the denial of Woodruff's motion in limine to exclude evidence of a prior conviction if Woodruff had testified in his own defense; found no plain error in the district court's jury instructions on the money-laundering charge; (5) reversed the denial of Cobble's motion for acquittal because the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction; vacated the sentences of Stoddard and Woodruff, remanded for resentencing, and held that, in order for a defendant to be sentenced based on a mandatory minimum triggered by a certain quantity of drugs, a jury must find the drug quantity attributable to the defendant on an individualized basis, not just the drug quantity attributable to the conspiracy as a whole; and reserved judgment on whether the district court properly applied the career-offender enhancement before sentencing Woodruff. View "United States v. Stoddard" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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After Old Dominion found that its operational costs during the January 2014 polar vortex outstripped the amounts it could charge for electricity under the governing tariff, it asked the Commission to waive provisions of the governing tariff retroactively so that it could recover its costs. The DC Circuit denied Old Dominion's petition for review of the Commission's denial of Old Dominion's request based on the ground that such retroactive charges would violate the filed rate doctrine and the rule against retroactive ratemaking. In this case, the court afforded the Commission's interpretation of the filed tariff and the PJM Operating Agreement substantial deference where there was no dispute that the PJM Tariff's filed rate did not allow the cost recovery that Old Dominion sought. The court also denied the motion of Independent Market Monitor to intervene, but accorded it amicus curiae status. View "Old Dominion Electric Cooperative v. FERC" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied Duke's petition for review of the Commission's denial of Duke's complaint against PJM under the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. 825e. To prepare for a bitterly cold day during the January 2014 polar vortex, Duke purchased expensive natural gas which it ended up not needing. Duke then claimed that PJM, its regional transmission organization, directed it to purchase the gas and that the governing tariff provided for indemnification. The court held that the Commission's finding that PJM never directed Duke to buy gas was supported by substantial evidence on the record. Therefore, the court had no need to address Duke's remaining argument that, had such a directive been issued, the tariff would have authorized indemnification. View "Duke Energy Corp. v. FERC" on Justia Law

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Defendants Brown, Boston, and Mathews were convicted of crimes related to the unlawful distribution of PCP. Defendant Ira Adona pleaded guilty before trial. The DC Circuit affirmed Brown and Boston's convictions and sentences. The court vacated Adona and Mathews' sentences, remanding for resentencing. The court held that Adona's appeal was not barred by the appeal waiver and that the district court plainly erred in its consecutive-sentencing analysis. The court also held that the district court properly calculated Matthews' Sentencing Guidelines range, but it failed to explain adequately its variance from that range. View "United States v. Brown" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction of CMS's decision declining to hear Mercy Hospital's challenge to its reimbursement rate for fiscal years 2002 through 2004. The Administrator interpreted a statutory provision that precluded administrative and judicial review of the reimbursement rate to also preclude review of the underlying formula that helped determine that rate. The court concluded from the Medicare statute's plain language in 42 U.S.C. 1395ww(j) that "prospective payment rates" means step-two rates. The court held that the preclusion paragraph barred review of step-two rates and the statutory adjustments. View "Mercy Hospital, Inc. v. Azar" on Justia Law