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The Fourth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of deprivation of rights under color of law in violation of 18 U.S.C. 242. In this case, the evidence showed that defendant, in the course of his police duties, assaulted another individual following his arrest on various charges. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of prior bad acts; the evidence was more than sufficient to support the jury's determination that defendant acted willfully, as required under section 242; the district court did not abuse its discretion in using a special verdict form and by refusing defendant's proposed jury instruction on lesser-included offenses; and the district court acted within its discretion in requiring defendant to pay the full amount of the victim's medical expenses. View "United States v. Cowden" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of deprivation of rights under color of law in violation of 18 U.S.C. 242. In this case, the evidence showed that defendant, in the course of his police duties, assaulted another individual following his arrest on various charges. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of prior bad acts; the evidence was more than sufficient to support the jury's determination that defendant acted willfully, as required under section 242; the district court did not abuse its discretion in using a special verdict form and by refusing defendant's proposed jury instruction on lesser-included offenses; and the district court acted within its discretion in requiring defendant to pay the full amount of the victim's medical expenses. View "United States v. Cowden" on Justia Law

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Bailey offered to sell marijuana to an informant who had already brokered the purchase of a firearm from him. The informant accepted the offer and purchased $40 worth of marijuana from Bailey contemporaneously with the firearm purchase. Bailey was convicted of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A). The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting Bailey’s argument that the facts do not tie the gun and the marijuana purchase together so as to demonstrate that the gun actually furthered the marijuana sale and that his possession of the firearm was simply coincident with the marijuana transaction. Because it was the opportunity to purchase a firearm that brought the informant to Bailey and made possible the secondary sale of marijuana to the informant, the facts support the finding that Bailey’s possession of the weapon furthered the marijuana sale. View "United States v. Bailey" on Justia Law

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Bailey offered to sell marijuana to an informant who had already brokered the purchase of a firearm from him. The informant accepted the offer and purchased $40 worth of marijuana from Bailey contemporaneously with the firearm purchase. Bailey was convicted of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A). The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting Bailey’s argument that the facts do not tie the gun and the marijuana purchase together so as to demonstrate that the gun actually furthered the marijuana sale and that his possession of the firearm was simply coincident with the marijuana transaction. Because it was the opportunity to purchase a firearm that brought the informant to Bailey and made possible the secondary sale of marijuana to the informant, the facts support the finding that Bailey’s possession of the weapon furthered the marijuana sale. View "United States v. Bailey" on Justia Law

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While Cureton was under investigation for dealing crack cocaine, he used a gun to demand ransom for his roommate; her grandfather agreed by telephone to wire Cureton $4,500. A jury convicted Cureton of interstate communication of a ransom demand, attempted extortion (guidelines range, 240 months, the statutory maximum), and two counts of possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, 18 U.S.C. 924(c) (ransom demand and attempted extortion). Cureton's drug possession case had a guideline range of 360-720 months. In a third appeal, following re-imposition of a 444‐month sentence, the Seventh Circuit held that the ransom demand qualified as a “crime of violence.” The Supreme Court remanded for reconsideration in light of its 2017 “Dean” holding, regarding consideration of section 924(c)'s mandatory minimum sentence when imposing sentences for other crimes. The Seventh Circuit noted that each of Cureton's sentencings has included the statutory maximum 240 months for the ransom demand, signaling that the judges were not inclined to reduce the sentence for that predicate crime; the 360 months of non‐924(c) sentences take into account several very serious crimes. No judge gave any sign that he believed that the reduced total sentence of 444 months was too severe. The Seventh Circuit ordered a limited remand so that the district court can determine whether it would have imposed the same sentence, knowing that under Dean, it may consider the mandatory sentence under section 924(c) when deciding the sentences for other crimes. View "United States v. Cureton" on Justia Law

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While Cureton was under investigation for dealing crack cocaine, he used a gun to demand ransom for his roommate; her grandfather agreed by telephone to wire Cureton $4,500. A jury convicted Cureton of interstate communication of a ransom demand, attempted extortion (guidelines range, 240 months, the statutory maximum), and two counts of possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, 18 U.S.C. 924(c) (ransom demand and attempted extortion). Cureton's drug possession case had a guideline range of 360-720 months. In a third appeal, following re-imposition of a 444‐month sentence, the Seventh Circuit held that the ransom demand qualified as a “crime of violence.” The Supreme Court remanded for reconsideration in light of its 2017 “Dean” holding, regarding consideration of section 924(c)'s mandatory minimum sentence when imposing sentences for other crimes. The Seventh Circuit noted that each of Cureton's sentencings has included the statutory maximum 240 months for the ransom demand, signaling that the judges were not inclined to reduce the sentence for that predicate crime; the 360 months of non‐924(c) sentences take into account several very serious crimes. No judge gave any sign that he believed that the reduced total sentence of 444 months was too severe. The Seventh Circuit ordered a limited remand so that the district court can determine whether it would have imposed the same sentence, knowing that under Dean, it may consider the mandatory sentence under section 924(c) when deciding the sentences for other crimes. View "United States v. Cureton" on Justia Law

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A Robinson police officer heard a motorcycle “revving” before observing it making a “very wide” turn, nearly hitting a telephone pole. The officer followed, turned on his emergency lights, and activated his siren, but the motorcycle continued to weave across the road for about 12 blocks before turning into a driveway. The motorcycle was driven by Mark, whose wife, Petra, was a passenger on the back. Mark got off the motorcycle, exhibiting “a strong odor of alcohol,” slurred speech, and poor balance. A breath test revealed his blood alcohol concentration was 0.161, over twice the legal limit. Mark was charged with aggravated DUI and driving without a valid driver’s license. Since 1996, his license had been summarily suspended multiple times; it was revoked following his 2008 DUI conviction. That revocation was extended after he was convicted of driving with a revoked license. Police seized the 2010 Harley-Davidson. The state sought forfeiture (720 ILCS 5/36-1(a)(6)(A)(i)). Petra was shown to be the vehicle’s title owner, although Mark maintained it and had the key. The court entered an order of civil forfeiture, finding Petra’s testimony not credible, and that she consented to Mark driving, knowing he was intoxicated and did not have a valid license. The court rejected her claim that forfeiture constituted an as-applied violation of the Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed. Petra’s culpability in Mark’s aggravated DUI was far more than negligible and she did not establish the motorcycle’s value for purposes of showing disproportionality. View "Hartrich v. 2010 Harley-Davidson" on Justia Law

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A Robinson police officer heard a motorcycle “revving” before observing it making a “very wide” turn, nearly hitting a telephone pole. The officer followed, turned on his emergency lights, and activated his siren, but the motorcycle continued to weave across the road for about 12 blocks before turning into a driveway. The motorcycle was driven by Mark, whose wife, Petra, was a passenger on the back. Mark got off the motorcycle, exhibiting “a strong odor of alcohol,” slurred speech, and poor balance. A breath test revealed his blood alcohol concentration was 0.161, over twice the legal limit. Mark was charged with aggravated DUI and driving without a valid driver’s license. Since 1996, his license had been summarily suspended multiple times; it was revoked following his 2008 DUI conviction. That revocation was extended after he was convicted of driving with a revoked license. Police seized the 2010 Harley-Davidson. The state sought forfeiture (720 ILCS 5/36-1(a)(6)(A)(i)). Petra was shown to be the vehicle’s title owner, although Mark maintained it and had the key. The court entered an order of civil forfeiture, finding Petra’s testimony not credible, and that she consented to Mark driving, knowing he was intoxicated and did not have a valid license. The court rejected her claim that forfeiture constituted an as-applied violation of the Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed. Petra’s culpability in Mark’s aggravated DUI was far more than negligible and she did not establish the motorcycle’s value for purposes of showing disproportionality. View "Hartrich v. 2010 Harley-Davidson" on Justia Law

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21 U.S.C. 853(n) proceedings are civil and thus governed by the time limits in Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a), which are jurisdictional because they implement the requirements of 28 U.S.C. 2107. The clock starts to run at the issuance of the first order and does not reset at the issuance of the second order. In this case, the Second Circuit held that appellants did not file their notice of appeal within sixty days of the district court's order, as required by Rule 4(a). Therefore, the court dismissed the appeal based on lack of jurisdiction. View "United States v. Ohle" on Justia Law

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21 U.S.C. 853(n) proceedings are civil and thus governed by the time limits in Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a), which are jurisdictional because they implement the requirements of 28 U.S.C. 2107. The clock starts to run at the issuance of the first order and does not reset at the issuance of the second order. In this case, the Second Circuit held that appellants did not file their notice of appeal within sixty days of the district court's order, as required by Rule 4(a). Therefore, the court dismissed the appeal based on lack of jurisdiction. View "United States v. Ohle" on Justia Law