by
Stanford, then an attorney, was charged under 21 U.S.C. 841, 846(b)(1)(c), 813, 802(32)(A) with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue (CSA); conspiracy to introduce and cause to be introduced misbranded drugs into interstate commerce; and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. The product, "Mr. Miyagi," a synthetic cannabinoid, contained a Schedule I CSA, “AM– 2201,” The court concluded that Count One did not require an instruction that the jury must find that Stanford knew AM-2201 was a CSA but permitted Stanford to present evidence on the issue. A jury convicted Stanford on all counts, concluding, in a special interrogatory, that Stanford knew that AM-2201 was a CSA. The court sentenced Stanford to 121 months’ imprisonment. After the Supreme Court’s “McFadden” ruling, that a defendant had knowledge that a CSA was a CSA, the Fifth Circuit remanded as to Count One only. The district court resentenced Stanford on the remaining convictions, again to 121 months’ imprisonment. The Fifth Circuit affirmed, upholding the denial of Stanford’s request for in camera review of co-conspirator witness reports and requests for reassignment to a different district judge. There was no reversible error in the calculation of the sentence for Count Two; U.S.S.G. 2N2.1 applies because the offense conduct was a violation of the FDCA for purposes of concealing the involvement with Mr. Miyagi. View "United States v. Stanford" on Justia Law

by
Appellant Johnathan McCoy was convicted of felony murder and associated offenses in connection with the shooting death of LaShawn Beasley. On appeal, McCoy argued that he was improperly sentenced and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The Georgia Supreme Court agreed McCoy was erroneously sentenced; otherwise the Court affirmed McCoy's conviction. View "McCoy v. Georgia" on Justia Law

by
Dequontist Lucas was tried by jury and convicted of murder, armed robbery, and other crimes in connection with the fatal shooting of Samuel Steward and the wounding of Demarco Tyler. Lucas appealed, claiming the trial court erred when it limited his cross-examination of two witnesses for the prosecution. The Georgia Supreme Court found no merit in these claims and affirmed. View "Lucas v. Georgia" on Justia Law

by
Appellant Tacomsi Winters was tried and found guilty of felony murder and related offenses in connection with the shooting death of Dionte Bradley. On appeal, Winters argued she received ineffective assistance of trial counsel, and that the trial court committed plain error in instructing the jury. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Winters v. Georgia" on Justia Law

by
Appellant Richard Morrison was tried before a jury and found guilty of the malice murder of his girlfriend Tammie Smith. He appealed pro se, asserting multiple claims of error. Having reviewed these claims, the Georgia Supreme Court found no merit to any of his claims, and affirmed his conviction. View "Morrison v. Georgia" on Justia Law

by
Appellant Herbert Drews was convicted of crimes related to the death of James David Ayers, who was a 70-year-old man, and the aggravated battery of Troyce Warren. Appellant alleged the evidence was insufficient to show that he was an active participant in those crimes. He also argued his trial counsel rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance by failing to investigate allegations raised by a supplemental police report and attendant dashboard camera video. Finding no reversible errors, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed Drews' convictions. View "Drews v. Georgia" on Justia Law

by
Derek Kemp, Harvey Hogans, and Alphonso Watkins appealed their convictions for malice murder and other crimes in connection with the shooting death of Derek Gray. Kemp and Watkins challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support their convictions, and all defendants raised various challenges to the testimony of Steve Lewis, a fellow gang member. Watkins also argued the trial court erred in permitting a “non-examining doctor” to testify about the post-mortem examination of the victim. The defendants also purport to “preserve” certain claims to the extent they may be applicable in future habeas proceedings. The Georgia Supreme Court concluded the evidence was sufficient to sustain the defendants’ convictions, there was no error in admitting or refusing to strike Lewis’s testimony, and the so-called “non-examining doctor” was the medical examiner who was allowed to testify about the autopsy he performed on the victim. The defendants’ claims that they wished to “preserve” certain arguments failed because the Court determined defendants did not raise any meaningful arguments on appeal in this respect. The Court therefore affirmed their convictions. View "Kemp v. Georgia" on Justia Law

by
Derek Kemp, Harvey Hogans, and Alphonso Watkins appealed their convictions for malice murder and other crimes in connection with the shooting death of Derek Gray. Kemp and Watkins challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support their convictions, and all defendants raised various challenges to the testimony of Steve Lewis, a fellow gang member. Watkins also argued the trial court erred in permitting a “non-examining doctor” to testify about the post-mortem examination of the victim. The defendants also purport to “preserve” certain claims to the extent they may be applicable in future habeas proceedings. The Georgia Supreme Court concluded the evidence was sufficient to sustain the defendants’ convictions, there was no error in admitting or refusing to strike Lewis’s testimony, and the so-called “non-examining doctor” was the medical examiner who was allowed to testify about the autopsy he performed on the victim. The defendants’ claims that they wished to “preserve” certain arguments failed because the Court determined defendants did not raise any meaningful arguments on appeal in this respect. The Court therefore affirmed their convictions. View "Kemp v. Georgia" on Justia Law

by
In 1999, Robert Hall, Jr. purchased property in Roswell, Georgia. In April 2005, after having married Cathleen Mary Cahill, Hall recorded a quitclaim deed that transferred the Roswell property to “Robert A. E. Hall, Jr. and Cathleen M. Cahill as Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship.” Approximately three years later, the couple divorced. Pursuant to a settlement agreement incorporated into a final judgment and decree of divorce, Cahill was to have “exclusive use and possession” of the Roswell property until she reached the age of 66, at which point the property would be sold and the net proceeds divided equally between the parties; the decree dictated that both Hall and Cahill were to “remain on the title” until the property was sold. In the following years, Hall failed to pay federal taxes, and, in February 2013, a notice of federal tax lien was filed against “all property and rights belonging” to Hall. Cahill resided on the property until her death on April 19, 2015; the property was not listed for sale before her death. The Estate of Mary Cathleen Cahill filed a quiet title action against the United States of America in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, seeking a determination that the right of survivorship was severed before Cahill’s death, thus giving her estate a one-half interest in the property. The Estate argued that the settlement agreement demonstrated an intent to sever the joint tenancy, while the Government argued that the parties’ failure to address the issue amounted to an unambiguous retention of the right of survivorship. The federal district court certified a question of Georgia law to the Georgia Supreme Court, questioning the effect of the parties' divorce decree on the joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Though the divorce decree plainly addresses the use, possession, and eventual sale of the property – as well as the names on the deed to the property – the decree is silent on the question of the survival of the joint tenancy, and the Georgia Supreme Court concluded the provision was, in fact, ambiguous. The Court found the divorce decree in this case severed the joint tenancy with right of survivorship created by the April 2005 deed. View "Cahill v. United States" on Justia Law

by
In 1999, Robert Hall, Jr. purchased property in Roswell, Georgia. In April 2005, after having married Cathleen Mary Cahill, Hall recorded a quitclaim deed that transferred the Roswell property to “Robert A. E. Hall, Jr. and Cathleen M. Cahill as Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship.” Approximately three years later, the couple divorced. Pursuant to a settlement agreement incorporated into a final judgment and decree of divorce, Cahill was to have “exclusive use and possession” of the Roswell property until she reached the age of 66, at which point the property would be sold and the net proceeds divided equally between the parties; the decree dictated that both Hall and Cahill were to “remain on the title” until the property was sold. In the following years, Hall failed to pay federal taxes, and, in February 2013, a notice of federal tax lien was filed against “all property and rights belonging” to Hall. Cahill resided on the property until her death on April 19, 2015; the property was not listed for sale before her death. The Estate of Mary Cathleen Cahill filed a quiet title action against the United States of America in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, seeking a determination that the right of survivorship was severed before Cahill’s death, thus giving her estate a one-half interest in the property. The Estate argued that the settlement agreement demonstrated an intent to sever the joint tenancy, while the Government argued that the parties’ failure to address the issue amounted to an unambiguous retention of the right of survivorship. The federal district court certified a question of Georgia law to the Georgia Supreme Court, questioning the effect of the parties' divorce decree on the joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Though the divorce decree plainly addresses the use, possession, and eventual sale of the property – as well as the names on the deed to the property – the decree is silent on the question of the survival of the joint tenancy, and the Georgia Supreme Court concluded the provision was, in fact, ambiguous. The Court found the divorce decree in this case severed the joint tenancy with right of survivorship created by the April 2005 deed. View "Cahill v. United States" on Justia Law