Articles Posted in Criminal Law

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
The DC Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for twenty-one counts of bank fraud and other offenses. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of a judgment in a related civil case, evidence of uncharged acts under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b), and evidence of the financial damage that defendant's scheme inflicted on his would-be customers. The court also denied defendant's ineffective assistance of counsel claim where counsel's errors, if any, were not so serious as to deprive defendant of a fair trial. View "United States v. Grey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Defendant was convicted of possession of a firearm, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking offense. The DC Circuit held that any error in admitting prior crimes evidence was harmless. However, the court remanded trial issues regarding the ineffective assistance of counsel to the trial judge because the record was quite sketchy regarding plea discussions. The court remanded for resentencing because defendant received ineffective assistance at sentencing and his sentence as a career criminal was improper. View "United States v. Winstead" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The DC Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and vacated in part defendant's resentence. The court held that his challenges to the firearm and role-in-the-offense enhancements were meritorious because the district court plainly erred in applying them. However, defendant's challenge to the drug quantity determination failed because the district court adequately explained its judgment and its findings were supported by the record. The court vacated and remanded the sentence on the RICO conspiracy count because the parties agreed that the district court erred in stating that the Sentencing Guidelines range for the RICO conspiracy was life, rather than 360 months to life. The court remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Miller" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
A district court's failure to comply with Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 11(b)(1)(N), by failing to discuss the appeal waiver at the plea hearing, does not affect a defendant's substantial rights if the defendant still knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the right to appeal. The court explained that, to determine whether the defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the right to appeal, the court of appeals must examine the entire record, including both the written plea agreement and the plea hearing. In this case, defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the right to appeal his within-Guidelines sentence. Therefore, the district court's Rule 11(b)(1)(N) error at the plea hearing did not affect defendant's substantial rights and the court dismissed the appeal. View "United States v. Lee" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The DC Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence, holding that the district court's resentencing decision was eminently reasonable. In this case, defendant argued that the hearing before the district court was tainted because, during the course of resentencing, the trial judge expressed some doubt about the judgment in Kpodi I and government counsel suggested that the district court should disregard this court's decision. The court held that, although government counsel showed little regard for its decision in Kpodi I, the record indicated that the trial judge fully complied with the court's judgment without being influenced by any improper considerations. View "United States v. Kpodi" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Defendant was convicted of five counts related to his role in a scheme to steal from a labor union. The DC Circuit applied de novo review and held that counts one and two charged the same conspiracy and were therefore not multiplicitous; the district court erroneously enhanced defendant's Guidelines offense level by two levels under USSG 2E5.1(b)(1); and the district court erroneously imposed concurrent prison terms as to counts one and two because the conspiracy statute prescribes a maximum of five years. Accordingly, the court vacated defendant's sentences and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Cooper" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law