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The Fifth Circuit vacated defendant's sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to production, transportation, and possession of child pornography, as well as committing a felony offense involving a minor while being required to register as a sex offender. The court held that the district court plainly erred by applying USSG 2G2.1(d)(1) to create five "pseudo counts" of production of child pornography that were factored into the calculation of his total offense level. Considering that the Guidelines range resulting from the district court's offense level calculation was life imprisonment, with an aggregate sentence of 45 years having been imposed, and that the appropriate remedy is resentencing, which can be accomplish fairly quickly and without extraordinary expense, the court exercised its discretion to remedy the calculation error. Accordingly, the court remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Randall" on Justia Law

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Galindo pled no contest to mayhem and admitted two prior serious felony conviction allegations pursuant to a plea bargain. The court of appeal upheld his 19-year prison sentence, rejecting Galindo’s claim that his case must be remanded for resentencing under Senate Bill No. 1393, which allows trial courts to decide whether to strike or dismiss prior serious felony convictions, a discretionary authority they lacked when he was sentenced. The court noted a split of authority among the courts of appeal as to whether a defendant sentenced pursuant to a stipulated sentence prior to the passage of Senate Bill 1393 must obtain a certificate of probable cause before seeking a remand for resentencing under the new law. Where the parties have agreed to a specific sentence as part of a negotiated plea, a defendant must obtain a certificate of probable cause to pursue an appeal challenging his sentence under Senate Bill 1393 because the appeal is, in substance, an attack on the validity of the plea. View "People v. Galindo" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the intermediate court of appeals and vacated Defendant's conviction of promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia, holding that Defendant's motion to suppress should have been granted because he was seized longer than was necessary for the police to conduct an investigation confirming the absence of a required tax decal. The pat-down of Defendant occurred after a police officer noticed Defendant riding a bicycle lacking a tax decal, which is required by law on all bicycles with wheels twenty inches or more in diameter. After the time necessary for the police to conduct the investigation confirming the officer's reasonable suspicion that the tax decal was missing and to issue a citation for the missing decal, a warrant check came back from dispatch indicating that Defendant had an outstanding warrant. Defendant was arrested based on the outstanding warrant, and a search incident to arrest revealed drugs and drug paraphernalia. The Supreme Court held (1) Defendant's arrest was illegal because the warrant check came back after the span of time necessary for the police to write and issue the citation; and (2) therefore, the evidence obtained as a result of the arrest was fruit of the poisonous tree. View "State v. Iona" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's emergency motion for a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, or stay of execution. Plaintiff was convicted of murder and sentenced to death 30 years ago. The court denied plaintiff's motion for a stay of execution, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to stay plaintiff's execution on account of his three method of execution claims where he engaged in inexcusable delay in bringing the claims, which is enough to deny him the equitable remedy of a stay. Furthermore, the district court properly held that each of his claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata. The court also held that the district court properly concluded that plaintiff's public records and witness claims were barred by res judicata. View "Long v. Secretary, Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

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Davis’s co-defendant, Young, contacted 16-year-old S.S. on Facebook to ask if S.S. and her sister were trading sex for drugs. S.S. and her sister drove to meet Young, who said he had friends who would pay for sex. Davis and another man got in their car. S.S.’s sister stated, “she’s 17.” Young directed S.S.’s sister to drive to Fort Wayne, Indiana. S.S. engaged in prostitution that night, splitting the proceeds with Young. S.S.’s sister drove S.S. back to Ohio. That evening, S.S.’s sister returned S.S. to Fort Wayne, where she engaged in sex acts for money and had sex with Davis. Davis and Young prostituted S.S. again, days later. Davis was convicted of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a minor, two counts of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in prostitution, and three counts of sex trafficking of a minor. The court noted a 16-year age gap between S.S. and Davis and applied an enhancement for exerting "undue influence" over S.S., split Davis’s offense conduct into three groups (for each day of prostitution), calculated Davis’s Guidelines range as life imprisonment, and orally pronounced a sentence of life imprisonment. The next day, the court convened “a continued hearing” and sentenced Davis to 360 months’ imprisonment. The Sixth Circuit affirmed as to the grouping of Davis’s offense conduct but vacated the sentence and remanded for factual findings relating to the undue-influence enhancement. View "United States v. Davis" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of dealing in a narcotic drug and resisting law enforcement, holding that the trial court did not commit fundamental error by allowing the State to present evidence of Defendant's post-arrest, pre-Miranda silence during trial. The court of appeals affirmed Defendant's conviction conviction, concluding that there was no error in using Defendant's post-arrest, pre-Miranda silence as substantive evidence against him during trial and that, even if there was error, it was not fundamental. The Supreme Court granted transfer and held (1) Defendant opened the door to the State's response that included comments about Defendant's post-arrest, pre-Miranda silence; and (2) even if the trial court erred in admitting the State's evidence and argument about Defendant's silence, the error was not fundamental for the reasons articulated in Owens v. State, 937 N.E.2d 880 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010). View "Kelly v. State" on Justia Law

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Yolanda Astorga-Lider pled guilty to six felony counts, including two counts of violating Penal Code section 115 (a). One of those counts, grand theft (count 6), involved Astorga-Lider encumbering certain real property, purchased by Nohemi and Jose Lorenzana with a fraudulent deed of trust. The subject deed of trust listed Sunil Deo as the lender. The Lorenzanas could not afford to buy a home. Astorga-Lider suggested a plan to the Lorenzanas and Nicolas and Elizabeth Corral, which would allow the Lorenzanas to purchase a home. The Corrals could obtain a $350,000 real estate loan, borrow against rental property they owned, and give the loan proceeds to the Lorenzanas. In turn, the Lorenzanas could use the proceeds to buy a home while making payments on the $350,000 loan. The Lorenzanas finalized what they believed to be an all-cash purchase of a house. Astorga-Lider accompanied the Lorenzanas to the bank and provided the transfer information to the bank. Unbeknownst to the Lorenzanas, the account number Astorga-Lider provided the bank was for an account that she controlled and used to funnel stolen funds from multiple fraudulent loans. After Astorga-Lider's guilty plea, the State moved, under section 115 (e), for an order declaring certain record instruments void, including the deed of trust listing Deo as the lender (Deo Deed of Trust). After multiple rounds of briefing, the superior court granted the motion. In doing so, the court found the Deo Deed of Trust void. Deo appealed the order declaring the Deo Deed of Trust void, contending the State's motion was procedurally improper; the Deo Deed of Trust was not a false or forged document under section 115; at most, the Deo Deed of Trust was voidable, not void; civil court, not criminal court, was the appropriate forum for adjudication of the validity of the Deo Deed of Trust; Deo's due process rights were been violated; and the order voiding the Deo Deed of Trust constituted an unlawful taking. The Court of Appeal concluded Deo's arguments were without merit and affirmed. View "California v. Astorga-Lider" on Justia Law

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A Notice to Appear that is defective under Pereira v. Sessions, 138 S. Ct. 2105 (2018), cannot be cured by a subsequent Notice of Hearing and therefore does not terminate the residence period required for cancellation of removal. The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's conclusion that petitioner was ineligible for cancellation of removal. The IJ concluded that petitioner was admitted in February 2002 when he became a legal permanent resident (LPR) and that the March 2008 Notice to Appear terminated his residence period. Therefore, he was in the United States for only six years and one month, and was thus ineligible for cancellation of removal. The panel held, however, that petitioner's Notice of Appear did not terminate his residence because it lacked time-and-place information, and the notice could not be cured by the subsequent Notice of Hearing that was sent to him. The panel explained that the law does not permit multiple documents to collectively satisfy the requirements of a Notice to Appear, and thus petitioner never received a valid Notice to Appear and his residency continued beyond 2008. Therefore, petitioner fulfilled the seven year requirement and was eligible for cancellation of removal. View "Lorenzo Lopez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained from Defendant's computer pursuant to a search warrant, holding that Tenn. Code Ann. 39-17-1007 does not require search warrants to be applied for by the office of the district attorney general. A police officer applied for and obtained the search warrant, by which pornographic images of minors were recovered from Defendant's computer. In his motion to suppress, Defendant argued that suppression was warranted because the search warrant was not applied for by the district attorney general. The trial court denied the motion to suppress. Defendant subsequently pled guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the search warrant and supporting affidavit were not required to comply with Tenn. Code Ann. 39-17-1007. View "State v. Miller" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court determining that Appellant was not entitled to custody credit against her Minnesota sentence for time spent in the custody of the Red Lake Nation, holding that Appellant was not entitled to custody credit against her Minnesota sentence for the time she spent in Red Lake custody because her Minnesota conviction was not the sole reason for her Red Lake custody. In 2011, Appellant was convicted of third-degree controlled-substance crime in Beltrami County District Court. The district court stayed imposition of Appellant's sentence and placed her on probation. In 2017, while she was still on probation, Appellant was convicted of two gross misdemeanors in Red Lake Tribal Court. After serving her sentence in the Red Lake Detention Center Appellant was released directly to Beltrami County because the district court had revoked her stay. The district court concluded that Appellant was not entitled to custody credit for her incarceration time in the Red Lake Detention Center. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant was not entitled to custody credit against her Minnesota sentence for the time she spent in Red Lake custody. View "State v. Roy" on Justia Law