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Assuming the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act's immunity applies, the DC Circuit held that it leaves intact the district courts' subject-matter jurisdiction over federal criminal cases involving foreign sovereigns. The court affirmed the district court's order holding the subpoena's target, a corporation owned by a foreign sovereign, in contempt for failure to comply. In this case, the court held that there was a reasonable probability the information sought through the subpoena at issue concerned a commercial activity that caused a direct effect in the United States. The court held that the Act, even where it applies, allows courts to exercise jurisdiction over such activities and the ancillary challenges in this appeal lacked merit. View "In re: Grand Jury Subpoena" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit vacated defendant's sentence after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity, one count of accessory after the fact for the murder of an officer or employee of the United States, and one count of accessory after the fact to the attempted murder of an officer or employee of the United States. The court held that, even if the district court had intended to consider defendant's murder of a Mexican national in Mexico as relevant conduct under USSG 1B1.3(a)(1)(A), it would not have been able to do so because the relevant conduct Guidelines could not be used to calculate the base offense level of an act that did not qualify as "racketeering activity." The error sufficiently prejudiced defendant, and the court remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Flores" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Survivors filed suit against the Republic of Hungary and Hungary's state-owned railway company, seeking compensation for the seizure and expropriation of Survivors' property as part of the Hungarian government's genocidal campaign. The DC Circuit held that the district court erred by dismissing the case on remand. The court held that the district court erred by dismissing the case on international comity grounds where the court's recent decision in Philipp v. Federal Republic of Germany, 894 F.3d 406 (D.C. Cir. 2018), squarely rejected the asserted comity-based ground for declining statutorily assigned jurisdiction. In regard to the dismissal on forum non conveniens grounds, the court held that the district court committed material legal errors at each step of its analysis. The court explained that there was far too little in this record to designate Hungary as a more convenient forum than the one chosen by the Survivors. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Simon v. Republic of Hungary" on Justia Law

Posted in: International Law

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The DC Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint challenging the Committee's denial of his application to sit for the DC Bar Examination. The court held that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine did not apply because plaintiff did not ask the district court to review and reject the Superior Court's dismissal of the state complaint; the court need not decide whether the Younger doctrine applied at the time of the district court's decision because plaintiff's state court proceedings were not currently ongoing; and the DC doctrine of res judicata did not apply because the state complaint was dismissed based on lack of jurisdiction, rather than on the merits. View "Jackson v. Office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The DC Circuit affirmed, on alternative grounds, the district court's denial of defendant's motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255. The district court denied the motion on the merits. The court held, however, that defendant procedurally defaulted on his claim by failing to preserve it for review and failed to demonstrate the prejudice necessary to obtain post-conviction relief. In this case, the district court's application of USSG 3C1.2 had no effect on the sentence imposed. View "United States v. Hicks" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The right-to-control element of the Board's joint-employer standard has deep roots in the common law. Furthermore, the common law permits consideration of those forms of indirect control that play a relevant part in determining the essential terms and conditions of employment. The DC Circuit affirmed the Board's articulation of the joint-employer test as including consideration of both an employer's reserved right to control and its indirect control over employees' terms and conditions of employment. In this case, the court held that the Board did not confine its consideration of indirect control consistently with common law limitations. Therefore, the court granted the petition for review in part, denied the cross-application for enforcement, dismissed without prejudice the application for enforcement as to Leadpoint, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, owner of a number of electric generation resources in New England, challenged FERC's adoption of changes to the Transmission, Markets, and Services Tariff proposed by the Independent System Operator for New England (ISO-NE). The DC Circuit held that the parties' dispute may be illusory and thus remanded the record for the agency to sort out what it really means. In this case, at oral argument, counsel for FERC suggested that FERC interpreted the tariff rules in a way that largely squares with Exelon's view of its rights. View "Exelon Corp. v. FERC" on Justia Law

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A member of the public cannot use a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain unrelated individual's tax records without his consent. The District Court affirmed the dismissal of EPIC's action seeking President Donald J. Trump's income tax records. The court held that the Internal Revenue Code's confidentiality protections extended to the ordinary taxpayer and the President alike. View "Electronic Privacy Information Center v. IRS" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of conspiracy to distribute, and conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute, 100 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of heroin. The court held that the evidence was sufficient to prove that defendant was responsible for 100 grams or more of heroin where the jury could have concluded that when a local drug dealer said he gave defendant 100 grams, the dealer in fact gave defendant 100 grams. The court need not resolve defendant's challenges to the district court's alternative rationales. View "United States v. Durrette" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of claims related to conditions placed by the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board on the liquor license of the Alibi restaurant. The court held that HRH properly invoked the curable defect exception to issue preclusion, and the district court erred by rejecting HRH's proposed second amended complaint that included allegations about the Board's enforcement action that would have cured the standing defect. On the merits, the court affirmed the dismissal of HRH's First Amendment retaliation claim because, even assuming the facts alleged in the complaint were true, the record showed that retaliation was not a plausible conclusion. The court also affirmed the dismissal of the commercial association claim based on the same reasoning as the retaliation claim; the dismissal of the right to travel claim in light of Hutchins v. District of Columbia, 188 F.3d 531, 537-38 (D.C. Cir. 1999); and procedural due process claim based on the failure to identify a cognizable liberty or property interest. View "Scahill v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law