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The Supreme Court held that the district court did not err in dismissing Defendant’s motion to dismiss the State’s petition to revoke her suspended sentence on the ground that there had been a four-year delay in executing the arrest warrant. In 2009, the district court issued a “Montana only” warrant for the arrest of Defendant, who was on probation. Thereafter, Defendant was convicted of another offense in Colorado, where, several times, Defendant was paroled and then her sentence was revoked. Defendant discharged her Colorado sentences in 2013. That same year, Defendant was arrested on the 2009 warrant. Defendant moved to dismiss the petition to revoke her suspended sentence, arguing that the State violated her right to due process by failing to bring her to court without unnecessary delay. The district court concluded that Defendant had not suffered a deprivation of due process and then determined that Defendant had violated the terms of her original sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss the revocation petition. View "State v. Koon" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences, as merged by the Court of Criminal Appeals. Defendant was convicted of three counts of first degree murder, one count of attempted first degree murder, and other related offenses. The jury sentenced Defendant to death for each of the first degree murders. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of death plus six years. The Supreme Court held (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding that Defendant acted with the requisite premeditation to support his first degree murder convictions; (2) Defendant waived his Fourth Amendment challenge to the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress statements he made to the police; (3) the death sentence imposed in this case was not excessive or disproportionate when compared to the penalty imposed in similar cases; and (4) as to the remaining issues raised by Defendant, the court agreed with the conclusions of the Court of Criminal Appeals. View "State v. Clayton" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Marcus Woodson, a prisoner of Oklahoma, sued several Oklahoma prison officials in Oklahoma state court, proceeding in forma pauperis (IFP) under state law. The defendants removed the case to federal district court. As required by federal statute, they paid the filing fee. The federal court, however, determined that Woodson, who had previously abused the federal courts by filing frivolous lawsuits, was not eligible to proceed IFP and dismissed his case because he failed to pay the filing fee. Woodson appealed. The Tenth Circuit reversed finding state-court plaintiffs whose cases are removed to federal court have no obligation to pay a filing fee; nothing in the federal IFP statute was to the contrary. View "Woodson v. McCollum" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed defendants' convictions of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The court rejected defendants' request to utilize Universal Health Services v. United States ex rel. Escobar, 136 S. Ct. 1989 (2016), to rule that the Supreme Court has clarified its earlier cases to say that materiality — in any criminal fraud context — requires proof that the false statements and misrepresentations were subjectively material. Therefore, the district court did not err in failing to require the misrepresentations in the SunTrust loan applications to be material to SunTrust as the fraud victim. The court reasoned that the correct test for materiality — as the district court recognized — is an objective one, which measures a misrepresentation's capacity to influence an objective "reasonable lender," not a renegade lender with a demonstrated habit of disregarding materially false information. Therefore, the challenged jury instructions regarding the materiality element were not erroneous. Furthermore, the district court did not erroneously instruct the jury on the element of intent to defraud. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion by failing to instruct the jury prior to the deliberations and by permitting the jury to find guilt by association. View "United States v. Raza" on Justia Law

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For the reasons outlined in Barrera v. State, 403 P.3d 105 (Wyo. 2017) and those set forth in this opinion, the Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s felony conviction for taking a controlled substance into a jail. The court held (1) the district court did not err in concluding that Defendant’s violated Wyo. Stat. Ann. 6-5-208 when he took a controlled substance into the county jail after being arrested; and (2) given the absence of citation to any pertinent authority, the court declined to reach the merits of Defendant’s argument that the district court and the State violated the Fifth Amendment prohibition against self-incrimination. View "Farnsworth v. State" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals declined Defendant’s invitation to expand the holding in People v. Syville, 15 NY3d 319 (N.Y. 2010), to situations in which retained trial counsel timely filed a notice of appeals but allegedly failed to advise the defendant of his or her right to poor person relief or to take any action when served with a motion to dismiss the appeal years after the notice of appeal was filed. Syville held that, in certain circumstances, coram nobis may be available for a defendant who demonstrated that he or she timely requested that trial counsel file a notice of appeal, the attorney failed to comply, and the omission could not reasonably have been discovered within the one-year time limit. The Court of Appeals declined Defendant’s invitation to expand Syville and instead held that coram nobis was unavailable where Defendant failed to meet his burden of proving that counsel was ineffective. View "People v. Arjune" on Justia Law

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Applying the strict equivalency test to the facts of this case, the Court of Appeals held that Defendant’s Georgia conviction for burglary was equivalent to a violent felony in New York, and therefore, Defendant was properly sentenced as a second violent felony offender based upon that previous conviction. Defendant pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. At sentencing, the trial court determined that Defendant must be punished as a second violent felony offender based on his previous Georgia conviction for burglary and sentenced him accordingly. The Appellate Division reversed, ruling that the Georgia conviction was not the equivalent of a New York violent felony. The Court of Appeals reversed and reinstated Defendant’s sentence as a second violent felony offender, holding that Defendant may be sentenced as a predicate felon based on his Georgia conviction. View "People v. Helms" on Justia Law

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Defendant entered into a Santa Rosa Walgreens and presented a prescription for Phenergan Codeine cough syrup. Suspecting the prescription was fraudulent, the pharmacist contacted the police. Officers responded. Defendant conceded the prescription was fraudulent. Defendant, charged with felony forging and issuing a prescription for a narcotic drug (Health and Safety Code 11368) and misdemeanor burglary (section 459), had two prior strike offenses: a 2006 conviction for vandalism committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang and a 2012 conviction for participation in a criminal street gang, for which he served a prison term. Defendant was accepted to a six-month residential treatment program after “express[ing] a desire for rehabilitation.” Defendant moved (section 1170.18(f)), unsuccessfully, to have the felony count reduced to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47, the 2014 Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. The court noted the prior strikes and the prior prison commitments. Defendant then entered a no-contest plea to the felony count. Before sentencing, defendant again moved to reclassify the felony and to strike the prior strike conviction allegations. The court denied defendant’s motions and sentenced him to a middle term of four years. The court of appeal affirmed. The trial court based its decision on the following, relevant considerations that are firmly grounded in the record. View "People v. Gollardo" on Justia Law

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DeKelaita provided legal representation for immigrants applying for asylum under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(42)(A). Applicants for asylum must sit for an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer and must provide a translator if one is needed. DeKelaita’s clients were primarily Assyrian or Chaldean Christians from Muslim‐ruled countries, such as Iraq. Many had suffered persecution, but their eligibility was doubtful because they either had already found refuge in another county or their history failed to meet the requirements for asylum. For at least nine clients, DeKelaita concealed evidence that the applicant had obtained legal status in a safe country or fabricated information about persecution. At the interview DeKelaita was able to ensure that applicants stuck to the script by coaching interpreters. He was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government and for three false statements he either made or induced on his final (Albqal’s) application. The court vacated the three convictions related to Albqal’s application. The jury unanimously found only one false statement in Albqal’s application, but the court ruled that this statement was immaterial to his receipt of asylum. The court concluded that the government had failed to prove an element of the substantive crimes, leaving only the conspiracy conviction, which the Seventh Circuit affirmed. DeKelaita argued that the government failed to prove an overarching conspiracy. The jury had sufficient evidence to convict DeKelaita for either the charged conspiracy or a subsection of it. View "United States v. Dekelaita" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court affirming the municipal court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress blood evidence in a driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) proceeding against him, holding (1) the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress a telephonic search warrant issued pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. 61-8-402(5) to draw Defendant’s blood; and (2) this court declines to address Defendant’s argument that the warrant was invalid because Defendant did not receive the implied consent advisory prior to his blood draw. View "City of Missoula v. Williams" on Justia Law