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The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions and sentences for conspiracy to import and importation of methamphetamine. The court held that there was sufficient evidence to support defendant's convictions, and the district court did not clearly err by imposing a two-level sentencing enhancement for obstruction of justice. View "United States v. Zamora-Salazar" on Justia Law

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Jones lived with Kelley. Kelley’s daughter (MK) went to a neighbor to call the police to report that Jones sexually assaulted her. Westville police officers went to the scene. Kelley stated that she was afraid of Jones; MK stated that she had been sexually assaulted by Jones for several years. Kelley stated that Jones was a convicted felon, was violent, and had guns in a bedroom safe. The officers verified that Jones was a felon, then went to the residence. Jones opened the door. Officers observed knives on a counter and told Jones that he needed to vacate the premises. Jones followed instructions. He was handcuffed at a picnic table, 10-20 feet from the door. Kelley signed a consent to search form. In the couple’s bedroom, officers found two gun safes, boxes of ammunition, and empty gun holsters. They saw several guns in one safe, which was partially open. The officers stopped the search, obtained a warrant, then seized 12 firearms, over a thousand rounds of ammunition, 17 clips, and several scopes. Jones was charged under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). The Seventh Circuit affirmed denial of a motion to suppress. Jones failed to object to the search when it occurred; the initial search was conducted with Kelley’s consent and the guns were in plain view, The officers did not unlawfully detain or remove Jones; they had probable cause to arrest him. The guns would have inevitably been discovered. View "United States v. Jones" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence of 15 years in prison under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(1). The court applied the categorical approach and held that defendant's three prior convictions under Virginia Code 8.2-55, for inflicting bodily injury, qualified as a violent felony because a defendant must necessarily use force capable of causing physical pain or injury. View "United States v. Reid" on Justia Law

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An order of complete restitution that is part of a plea in abeyance is a final order for purposes of appeal. The two underlying cases in this appeal both turned on the same issue regarding whether orders of restitution that were part of pleas in abeyance were final orders appealable as of right. In the first case, the court of appeals determined that the order of restitution was not appealable. In the second case, the court of appeals concluded that it was bound by the holding in the first case. Both appeals were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the court of appeals in both cases, holding that the court of appeals had jurisdiction over Defendants’ appeals because the district court’s restitution orders for both Defendants were orders of complete restitution rather than court-ordered restitution. The court remanded the cases to the court of appeals to consider the merits of Defendants’ appeals. View "State v. Mooers" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's 21 month sentence after he pleaded guilty to illegal reentry after deportation. The panel held that the district court did not err by applying a 16 level enhancement after determining that defendant's prior aggravated assault conviction in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated 39-13-102 was a crime of violence for purposes of USSG 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii), because it entailed the use or threatened use of physical force. The panel also held that defendant waived his ability to contest the revocation of his supervised release and thus the appeal must be dismissed. View "United States v. Perez-Silvan" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's 54 month sentence after he pleaded guilty to illegal reentry after deportation. The panel held that the district court did not err by concluding that defendant's conviction for aggravated assault under Texas Penal Code 22.01 and 22.02 was a crime of violence for purposes of USSG 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii), because both means of committing aggravated assault entailed the use of violent, physical force. Finally, defendant waived his ability to contest the district court's revocation of his supervised release and the appeal must be dismissed. View "United States v. Calvillo-Palacios" on Justia Law

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From 2011-2014, House ran a drug-trafficking operation that specialized in distributing oxycodone pills. The operation obtained the pills from a Michigan pain clinic’s patients and employed runners to transport the oxycodone to House’s network of dealers in Ohio. In 2014, DEA agents penetrated House’s organization and staged a series of controlled deliveries and pick-ups. After obtaining information from members of House’s network, DEA agents arrested House. He pleaded guilty under 21 U.S.C. 846 and 841(a)(1), but maintained during the plea colloquy that the conspiracy spanned from November 2013 to September or October 2014, not the entire 2011-to-2014 time period alleged in the indictment. House challenged the PSR finding that he was “an organizer or leader of a criminal activity that involved five or more participants,” U.S.S.G. 3B1.1(a). The district court denied House’s objection to the leadership enhancement and rejected House’s claim that the PSR should have calculated the quantity of drugs attributable to him using the conspiracy duration he admitted. The court ultimately decreased the quantity of oxycodone attributed to House on other grounds, but did not shorten the conspiracy’s length, and sentenced House to 180 months’ imprisonment—below the Guidelines range of 235 to 240 months. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, upholding House’s designation as a career offender. View "United States v. House" on Justia Law

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Ohio’s execution protocol allows for lethal injection using a three-drug combination of midazolam; either vecuronium bromide, pancuronium bromide, or rocuronium bromide, which are paralytics; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart. The midazolam is intended to ensure that the person being executed is insensate to the pain that the other drugs cause. If midazolam does not “render the prisoner unconscious,” then “there is a substantial, constitutionally unacceptable risk of suffocation . . . and pain” from the second two drugs. The district court granted a preliminary injunction to allow for further litigation regarding midazolam’s efficacy before Ohio executes three men. The Sixth Circuit initially affirmed, but following rehearing en banc, reversed. The court noted that about two decades have passed since the commission of the crimes, which included the rape-murder of a three-year-old. The court stated that “In a sense the claim is unprecedented: the Supreme Court ‘has never invalidated a State’s chosen procedure for carrying out a sentence of death as the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment.’” The State’s chosen procedure here is the same procedure (so far as the combination of drugs is concerned) that the Supreme Court has upheld. Every other court of appeals to consider that procedure has likewise upheld it. View "In re: Ohio Execution Protocol Litigation" on Justia Law

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Lambert was charged as a co-conspirator with and accomplice to Tillman’s 1997 acts of murder (Tilman’s former girlfriend’s mother), aggravated assault (Tilman’s former girlfriend), and burglary. Their trial was joint. Before trial, Tillman admitted to the act and claimed mental illness. He made statements to his expert psychiatrist that Lambert had given Tillman a gun. The prosecution presented no direct evidence of any criminal plan between Lambert and Tillman before Tillman’s third return to the house. It relied only on their prior friendship, Lambert’s presence, and that Lambert drove Tillman away after witnessing the shooting. Recognizing that Tillman (who did not testify) would not be subject to cross-examination when the psychiatrist recounted his statements, the trial judge required counsel to redact facially incriminating references to Lambert from that testimony. At trial, the psychiatrist’s testimony, in context, implicated Lambert, who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. The Third Circuit vacated and remanded for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the Commonwealth used Tillman’s testimonial statements for their hearsay purpose and, if so, whether trial counsel was ineffective in failing to request a limiting jury instruction. The court found ”some merit to his argument that his Confrontation Clause rights were violated.” View "Lambert v. Warden Greene SCI" on Justia Law

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Disabled members under the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) who receive "Duty Disability Income" (DDI) are not considered retired for purposes of entitlement to a retired identification card and concealed weapons endorsement pursuant to the Penal Code. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's denial of the petition for writ of mandate compelling Regents to provide plaintiffs with such identification cards and endorsements. The court held that plaintiffs' additional six arguments in support of their claim were without merit. View "Jacobs v. The Regents of the University of California" on Justia Law