Justia Criminal Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States v. Henriquez
Defendant appealed his sentence after pleading guilty to one count of unlawfully reentering the United States. Defendant argued that a conviction of first degree burglary in Maryland is not a crime of violence because Maryland's definition of burglary exceeds the scope of generic burglary as defined by the Supreme Court. The court concluded that Maryland's first degree burglary statute encompasses "conduct that falls outside the generic definition" of burglary. As a consequence, a Maryland conviction of first degree burglary cannot constitute a crime of violence for purposes of U.S.S.G. 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii). Accordingly, the district court erred by applying that enhancement and defendant's sentence must be vacated. View "United States v. Henriquez" on Justia Law
United States v. Louthian, Sr.
Defendant appealed his convictions stemming from multiple offenses arising from a health care fraud scheme. The court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to convict defendant of the health care offenses and of the perjury offense; the district court did not err in denying defendant's post-trial request for acquittal or a new trial on inconsistent verdicts where defendant's argument was baseless; defendant's sentence, which was less than half the low end of his Guidelines range, was reasonable; and there was no basis for concluding that the district court erred with respect to the forfeiture proceedings. View "United States v. Louthian, Sr." on Justia Law
United States v. Adepoju
Defendant appealed his conviction and sentence for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. The court concluded that there was sufficient evidence to convict defendant and affirmed his conviction; the court found no due process violation; but, because the facts do not affirmatively demonstrate sophisticated means under U.S.S.G. 2B1.1(b)(10)(C) in his attempt to commit bank fraud, the court vacated and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Adepoju" on Justia Law
In re: Grand Jury Subpoena
The Government subpoenaed a 19-year-old man, (Doe Jr.) to testify with regard to potential federal charges against his father (Mr. Doe). Doe Jr. moved to quash the subpoena under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 17(c)(2), claiming that his testimony was shielded by a purported parent-child privilege and the district court granted the motion. The court, concluded, however, that no federal appellate court has recognized a parent-child privilege and the court declined to do so in this case. Doe Jr. has not made a strong showing of need for the parent-child privilege and "reason and experience" did not warrant creation of the privilege in the face of substantial authority to the contrary. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "In re: Grand Jury Subpoena" on Justia Law
United States v. Hairston
Defendant appealed the district court's dismissal of his claim under 28 U.S.C. 2244(b)(3)(a) and 2255(h), holding that defendant did not meet the requirements of a permissible second or successive motion to vacate. The court held that a numerically second section 2255 motion should not be considered second or successive under section 2255(h) where, as here, the facts relied on by the movant seeking resentencing did not exist when the numerically first motion was filed and adjudicated. Here, defendant's claim was unripe at the time his numerically first motion was adjudicated. Thus, in light of the subsequent vacatur of his state No Operator's License conviction, which contributed to the original guidelines calculation of his federal sentence, his motion was not successive. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "United States v. Hairston" on Justia Law
United States v. Mungro, Jr.
Defendant appealed his sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The district court concluded that defendant was subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e), due to his three prior state convictions for "breaking and entering" in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. 14-54(a). The court concluded that N.C. Gen. Stat. 14-54(a), as interpreted by the North Carolina Supreme Court, sweeps no more broadly than the generic elements of burglary. The state court's clarification that the offense requires either breaking or entering without a building owner's consent brings it within Taylor v. United States's requirement of an "unlawful or unprivileged entry." This clarification also "excludes any case in which a person enters premises open to the public, no matter his intent" as required by Descamps v. United States. Accordingly, N.C. Gen. Stat. 14-54(a) qualifies as an ACCA predicate offense under section 924(e)(2)(B)(ii). The court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Mungro, Jr." on Justia Law
United States v. Saafir
Defendant appealed his conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that the law enforcement officer's search of defendant's car was unreasonable within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment because the probable cause on which the search was based was tainted. Defendant's discriminatory statements that gave rise to probable cause to search the car were elicited in response to the officer's manifestly false assertion that he had probable cause to search the car and his suggestion that, with our without defendant's consent, he would proceed with the search. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's order denying the suppression motion, vacated defendant's conviction, and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Saafir" on Justia Law
United States v. Barefoot, Jr.
Defendant appealed his conviction and sentence stemming from several instances of criminal conduct that defendant was accused of undertaking between October 2001 and June 2002. The Superseding indictment charged defendant in Count One with conspiracy to receive, possess, conceal, store, barter, sell, and dispose of stolen firearms; in Count Two with the substantive 18 U.S.C. 922(j) offense; in Count Three with solicitation of another to assist in damaging and destroying by explosive the Johnston County Courthouse and Sheriff's office; in Count Four with receiving an explosive with the intent that it be used to kill, injure, or intimidate other persons and to damage and destroy buildings; in Count Five with a misdemeanor charge of improperly storing explosive materials; and in Count Six with distributing explosive materials to an individual under twenty-one years of age. The court affirmed defendant's convictions on Counts One through Four of the Superseding Indictment, but reversed his convictions on Counts Five and Six. Because the latter two convictions did not materially affect his sentence, the court did not remand for resentencing. View "United States v. Barefoot, Jr." on Justia Law
United States v. Taylor
Defendant appealed his conviction for two counts of Hobbs Act robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1951(a) and one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c). The court concluded that the evidence was sufficient for two independent reasons. Whether viewed through the lens of the effect of defendant's crimes (depletion of assets) or his intent (targeting), the government adduced sufficient evidence in this case to meet the jurisdictional element of the Hobbs Act. Therefore, the court upheld defendant's Hobbs Act convictions. Because defendant challenged his firearm conviction solely on the ground that the Hobbs Act predicate was infirm, that conviction too must be upheld. View "United States v. Taylor" on Justia Law
United States v. Weiss
Defendant appealed his sentence after pleading guilty to wire fraud; money laundering; making a false statement on a loan application to a financial institution, the accounts of which are insured by the FDIC; and corrupt interference with the internal revenue laws of the United States. The court concluded that the district court did not err by increasing defendant's offense level under the Guidelines by 2 levels under U.S.S.G. 3B1.3 for abuse of a position of trust; by increasing his offense level under the Guidelines by 20 levels under U.S.S.G. 2B1.1(b)(1)(K); and by failing sua sponte to appoint various experts to assist in his defense at sentencing. Accordingly, the court affirmed defendant's sentence. View "United States v. Weiss" on Justia Law