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Freed was the president and CEO of JFA, a real estate development company, and created and managed several real estate ventures including UGV. In 2002, UGV secured Chicago tax increment financing (TIF) for an Uptown development. The city issued a redevelopment note for $4.3 million and project note for $2.4 million. UGV was required to annually it was not in default on any loans and had not entered into any transactions that would harm its ability to meet its financial obligations. Freed thereafter obtained loans and allowed them to become double-pledged and go into default. He made false statements to obtain loan modifications. In annual requisition forms Freed provided the city under the TIF agreement, Freed claimed none of his entities were in default. The Seventh Circuit affirmed Freed’s convictions for bank fraud (18 U.S.C. 1344); mail fraud (18 U.S.C. 1341); wire fraud (18 U.S.C. 1343); and making false statements to a financial institution (18 U.S.C. 1014), rejecting arguments that two jury instructions, concerning "aiding and abetting" and "wilfully causing" were incorrect and there was insufficient evidence for several of his convictions. View "United States v. Freed" on Justia Law

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Smith twice sold cocaine to a confidential informant. A search of his home uncovered 12.83 grams of cocaine base, 111.57 grams of cocaine powder, a rifle, a body‐armor vest, and a digital scale. Charged possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance; two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm; and three counts of distribution of a controlled substance, Smith had a 2004 felony drug conviction for possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base and a 2009 Indiana conviction for “Dealing in cocaine or narcotic drug.” The career offender sentencing enhancement, U.S.S.G. 4B1.1. applies where the defendant has two prior felony convictions for either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense. With the enhancement, Smith’s PSR calculated an imprisonment range as 188-235 months. Smith argued that his conviction under Indiana Code 35‐48‐4‐1 was not a “controlled substance offense” The court imposed a sentence of 188 months. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Arguably, the Indiana statute has the same elements as section 4B1.2(b), so the career‐offender enhancement should apply under the categorical approach; even if the statute is broader than the Guidelines’ definition, it is divisible, so the modified categorical approach would reach the same result. View "United States v. Smith" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a petition for habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254. The court granted a certificate of appealability on his claim that he has made a showing of actual innocence such that the district court erred in dismissing his petition as untimely. The court held that petitioner failed to meet the exacting standard for the procedural gateway claim of actual innocence. In this case, none of the new evidence identified by petitioner contradicted the evidence of his guilt presented at trial. View "Hayes v. Carver" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated Defendant's convictions and remanded this case to the circuit court for further proceedings, holding that multiple instances of improper prosecutorial conduct cumulatively jeopardized Defendant's right to a fair trial. Defendant was convicted of murder in the second degree and carrying or use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirmed. Defendant appealed, arguing, among other things, that the circuit court erred in denying his motions for mistrial and motion for a new trial due to prosecutorial misconduct. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the cumulative effect of the prosecutor's improper conduct was so prejudicial as to jeopardize Defendant's right a fair trial. View "State v. Pasene" on Justia Law

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Gaspar Leal appealed the denial of his motion to dismiss the indictment. He argued the drug conspiracy charged in this case was the same conspiracy for which he was convicted in a previous case, and that continued prosecution would violate his double jeopardy rights. The district found the conspiracies were not interdependent, the indictment therefore charged a separate offense, thus double jeopardy did not apply. Finding no reversible error in that judgment, the Tenth Circuit affirmed denial of Leal’s motion. View "United States v. Leal" on Justia Law

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In March 2003, Raul Novoa pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine for sale. The trial court sentenced him to 180 days in county jail and three years' probation. In 2012, the United States began deportation proceedings against Novoa, which were ongoing at the time of this opinion. In May 2017, Novoa successfully moved to vacate his 2003 conviction per Penal Code section 1473.7. The State appealed, arguing the trial court erred by: (1) holding Novoa's trial counsel to a duty the law did not require; and (2) finding Novoa suffered prejudice. In support of its position, the State contended the superior court's factual findings were not supported by substantial evidence. Moreover, the State argued laches prohibited Novoa's motion. The Court of Appeal found the State’s arguments were without merit and thus affirmed the superior court. View "California v. Novoa" on Justia Law

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After defendant was charged with 23 counts arising from a fraudulent scheme, he agreed to return to Russia pursuant to a settlement agreement with the government and to abandon his lawful permanent resident status in the United States. The day after defendant boarded a flight to Russia, the government moved to dismiss the indictment. The Eleventh Circuit dismissed defendant's appeal of the district court's grant of the government's motion to dismiss the indictment. The court held that the order did nothing more than dismiss the indictment against defendant and he lacked standing to complain about it. In this case, defendant presented no case or controversy and the dismissal caused him no injury. View "United States v. Pavlenko" on Justia Law

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In the wake of the 2014 amendments to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12, the good-cause standard in Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(c)(3), rather than plain error review, continues to apply when a defendant attempts to raise new theories on appeal in support of a motion to suppress. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress a gun and ammunition found during a traffic stop. The panel held that defendant did not show good cause for failing to present in his pretrial motion the new theory he raised for suppression in this appeal, nor has he challenged the district court's rejection of the one theory that he did raise. View "United States v. Guerrero" on Justia Law

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Defendant Francis Buell was caught shoplifting twice within a one-and-a-half month span: once at a department store, once at a supermarket. The prosecution initially charged Buell in separate cases arising from these incidents but subsequently moved to consolidate the cases under Crim. P. 13. The trial court granted that motion. The Colorado Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider Buell’s contention that the trial court abused its discretion in consolidating the two cases because, in his view, proper consolidation required the evidence of each incident to be admissible in a separate trial of the other. The Supreme Court had “no difficulty” in concluding the cases were of the same or similar character because the facts of these cases closely mirrored one another. Moreover, Buell did not show the consolidation was prejudicial because (1) the evidence would, in fact, have been cross-admissible in separate trials and (2) the facts of the incidents at issue were not disputed. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s consolidation. View "Buell v. Colorado" on Justia Law

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This case involved the joinder of two separately filed cases. In the first “Motorcycle Case,”: in three separate instances, a male motorcyclist wearing a leather jacket and a motorcycle helmet that largely concealed his face approached women who were driving or parked in their cars. In each incident, the assailant showed a gun, directed the victims to move or remove parts of their clothing and expose themselves to him, and demanded that the victims give him some of their belongings. At the time of these incidents, none of the victims identified defendant James Bondsteel as the assailant. In the second “Signal Mountain Trail Case,” a man on foot attacked two women on a hiking trail. The man was dressed in full camouflage and a long parka, and his face was covered by a balaclava. He accosted the women, threatening them with a knife and cutting the hand and arm of one of them. In the course of this attack, the assailant had one of the women on the ground with his knife to her throat, lifted her shirt, opened her shorts and looked down them. The women managed to escape after hitting the man in the head with a walking stick and rocks, and, in separate line-ups conducted later, they both identified Bondsteel as their attacker. Bondsteel’s then-wife tipped police to her husband’s suspicious behavior, leading to Bondsteel’s arrest. The trial court joined the Motorcycle and the Signal Mountain Trail Cases for trial; , Bondsteel did not renew his pretrial objections to the joinder of the two cases. A jury ultimately convicted Bondsteel on eighteen of the twenty-three counts, including most but not all of the counts charged in the Signal Mountain Trail Case and many but not all of the counts charged in the Motorcycle Case. In addition, one conviction in the Signal Mountain Trail Case was for a lesser-included offense. Bondsteel appealed, arguing, as pertinent here, the trial court had committed reversible error when it joined the two cases. The Colorado Supreme Court concluded the trial court properly exercised its discretion in joining the cases at issue because the record supported the court’s findings that the joinder of the two cases satisfied the requirements of Crim. P. 8(a)(2) and Crim. P. 13 and the joinder did not prejudice Bondsteel. View "Bondsteel v. Colorado" on Justia Law