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Sentencing judges ordinarily “group” counts of conviction when they involve “substantially the same harm,” U.S.S.G. 3D1.2. In 2014, the Seventh Circuit ruled (Sinclair) that when facing a particular combination of counts—the same combination in this case—a judge may not group them. Lamon pleaded guilty to: possessing cocaine with intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1); possessing a firearm in furtherance of that crime, 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A); and possessing a firearm as a felon, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). Following Sinclair, the judge did not group Lamon’s drug‐trafficking conviction and felon‐in‐possession conviction; calculated guidelines ranges of 30-37 months for the section 841(a) and 922(g) counts, based on a total offense level of 17 and Lamon’s criminal history category of III; and sentenced Lamon to below‐guidelines concurrent terms of 24 months’ imprisonment on each of those counts, followed by the statutory minimum consecutive term of five years for the section 924(c) count, resulting in a total sentence of 84 months. Had the judge grouped the counts, Lamon’s total offense level would have been 15, resulting in a guidelines range of 24-30 months for each charge. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, declining to overrule Sinclair. In these circumstances, the felon‐in‐possession count has no impact on the guideline range for the underlying drug count, eliminating the rationale for grouping. View "United States v. Lamon" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a bail condition order prohibiting Defendant from possessing a “dangerous weapon” issued by a New Hampshire bail commissioner was a “similar order issued by a court…of another state” pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 19-A 4011(1)(A), and therefore, the State could prosecute Defendant for an alleged violation of that order. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss charges against him for violating a protective order. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss, concluding that any alleged violation in Maine of the New Hampshire conditions order could not subject Defendant to prosecution because the order failed to meet the definition of a “similar order” of protection “issued by a court…of another state” pursuant to section 4011(a)(A). The Supreme vacated the judgment and remanded the case to the trial court, holding that the New Hampshire order was a “similar order” under the statute. View "State v. Blum" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base, possession with intent to distribute various quantities of cocaine base and cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a narcotics trafficking crime, and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. The court rejected defendant's arguments and, in this opinion, held that the district court did not err in refusing to suppress evidence seized from a car parked in the common parking lot of a multi‐family building where the vehicle search was warrantless but supported by probable cause. Remaining arguments were resolved by a simultaneously issued summary order. View "United States v. Jones" on Justia Law

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On a second appeal following resentencing, the Second Circuit vacated defendant's 300 month sentence for production of child pornography and receipt of child pornography. The court held that the district court did not sufficiently address on remand deficiencies in the district court's analysis. The district court failed to comply with the mandate rule when it ordered no downward departure on either of the grounds specifically identified in the court's summary order as grounds for significant downward departures. The court remanded for resentencing and assigned the matter to a different judge where the district court noted on the record her continuing disagreement with the court and informed the court that "it would probably be better for judicial economy if another judge sentence for a third time." View "United States v. Sawyer" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit granted respondent's petition for rehearing en banc and withdrew the prior opinion, substituting the following opinion. The court affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's 28 U.S.C. 2254 application. The court held that, under Gonzalez v. Crosby, petitioner's purported Rule 59(e) motion was not an unauthorized successive section 2254 application and, if timely filed, would toll the deadline for filing a notice of appeal until the entry of the order disposing of the motion. In this case, petitioner's Rule 59(e) motion, which was delivered by petitioner's "next friend," was timely filed and tolled the deadline for filing a notice of appeal. Finally, the court held that petitioner was not entitled to section 2254 relief because the circumstances in this case did not rise to the level of the extreme situations wherein courts have previously imputed juror bias. View "Uranga v. Davis" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit granted respondent's petition for rehearing en banc and withdrew the prior opinion, substituting the following opinion. The court affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's 28 U.S.C. 2254 application. The court held that, under Gonzalez v. Crosby, petitioner's purported Rule 59(e) motion was not an unauthorized successive section 2254 application and, if timely filed, would toll the deadline for filing a notice of appeal until the entry of the order disposing of the motion. In this case, petitioner's Rule 59(e) motion, which was delivered by petitioner's "next friend," was timely filed and tolled the deadline for filing a notice of appeal. Finally, the court held that petitioner was not entitled to section 2254 relief because the circumstances in this case did not rise to the level of the extreme situations wherein courts have previously imputed juror bias. View "Uranga v. Davis" on Justia Law

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The district court did not err in imposing a 218-month sentence on Defendant for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing heroin, holding that the sentence was not procedurally unreasonable. On appeal, Defendant challenged the drug quantity that the district court attributed to him. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, contrary to Defendant’s argument on appeal, certain witness statements concerning Defendant’s heroin distribution, as out-of-court statements, were not inherently less reliable for sentencing purposes. Rather, the district court’s reliance on the witness statements and its adoption of a narrowly tailored drug quantity determination supported by that evidence were reasonable. View "United States v. Lee" on Justia Law

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Ernest Orozco pled guilty to one count of unlawfully driving a vehicle of another without permission, and one count of receiving a stolen vehicle. California voters enacted Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014, which among other things, established a procedure for specified classes of offenders to have their felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors and be resentenced accordingly. In a previously unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's denial of Orozco's petition for resentencing under Proposition 47. In this opinion, at the direction of the California Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal reconsidered this matter in light of California v. Page, 3 Cal.5th 1175 (2017). The appellate court affirmed the trial court's order denying Orozco's petition without prejudice to consideration of a subsequent petition providing evidence of eligibility. View "California v. Orozco" on Justia Law

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Dawkins was convicted of stalking, false imprisonment, criminal threats, lewd acts upon a child, and indecent exposure based on two incidents during which he harassed passengers on Bay Area Rapid Transit trains. After finding true various prior-conviction allegations, the court sentenced Dawkins to 25 years in prison. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting Dawkins’ claims that venue for the indecent-exposure offense was not proper in San Mateo County because he committed the offense while the train was in Contra Costa County; his constitutional rights were violated when the jury was inadvertently provided with a printout of his criminal history; and the trial court abused its discretion by striking only three of the four prior convictions. Venue was proper under Penal Code section 783, which pertains to offenses committed on various modes of transportation. Given the jurors’ unanimous agreement that the rap sheet did not affect their deliberations, Dawkins failed to demonstrate prejudice. Dawkins argued that his life circumstances establish he is “outside the spirit of the Three Strikes law” but the court noted that he was sentenced as a two-strikes offender, allowing him to avoid a life term, and that his long criminal history brought him well within the spirit of the statute. View "People v. Dawkins" on Justia Law

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Petitioner sought a writ of mandate asking the Court of Appeal to define more precisely the permissible scope of record preservation in capital cases. The court agreed with petitioner that he was entitled to an order preserving potentially discoverable materials in the possession of the prosecution and law enforcement authorities relating to all crimes discussed during his trial, whether at the guilt or penalty phase. Therefore, the trial court's failure to order preservation of those materials was an abuse of its discretion. The court held, however, that only material potentially discoverable under Penal Code section 1054.9 is properly subject to a preservation order. Therefore, the court granted the petition for a writ of mandate in part and directed the superior court to enter a new order granting those portions of petitioner's motion that sought to preserve potentially discoverable materials in the possession of the prosecution and law enforcement authorities relating to all prior crimes and alleged prior criminal conduct that were the subject of evidence introduced by the prosecutor at the guilt and penalty phases of his capital trial, including offenses identified in the People's notice of evidence in aggravation. View "Shorts v. Superior Court" on Justia Law