Justia Criminal Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
In re: Williams
Petitioner filed two 28 U.S.C. 2255(h) motions with the court seeking certification to file successive motions in the district court to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. The court concluded that petitioner has made a prima facie showing that his Graham v. Florida motion satisfied the necessary requirements for the court's certification. How Graham applies to a case concerning a crime that straddled the age of majority is a question for the district court in the first instance. Further, petitioner has made a prima facie showing that his Miller v. Alabama motion satisfies the necessary requirements for the court's certification. The government's question of whether the new rule in Miller extends to a prisoner like petitioner, who entered a conspiracy in his juvenile years and exited it in adulthood, goes to the merits of the motion and is for the district court. View "In re: Williams" on Justia Law
United States v. Garcia
Defendant appealed his conviction and sentence for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States. Defendant was part of the regional leadership of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), a left-wing guerilla group. The court concluded that there was overwhelming evidence to support defendant's conviction; the court rejected defendant's Brady argument, concluding that he failed to show that admitting the Reinsertado reports was likely to have changed the trial's outcome; admission of a training video and printouts did not substantially affect the jury's verdict and, therefore, any error in admitting them was harmless; and the court rejected defendant's challenge to the length of his sentence because, while the trial judge did not instruct the jury to make a finding as to the quantity of drugs involved in the conspiracy that was reasonably foreseeable to defendant, the evidence was overwhelming that defendant was personally involved in the manufacture and import of more than 7,000 kilograms. Accordingly, the court affirmed the conviction and sentence. View "United States v. Garcia" on Justia Law
United States v. Ransom, Jr.
Defendants Ransom and Talbott appealed their sentences after pleading guilty to fraud charges in connection with the operation of their property management company. The court need not decide whether Ransom's appeal waiver should stand since the court determined that, even if Ransom had not waived his right to appeal, his arguments made on appeal were meritless. The court concluded that defendants' sentences were both procedurally and substantively reasonable. The district court did not only all that it was required to do in entering the upwardly variant sentences, but more than enough. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Ransom, Jr." on Justia Law
United States v. Fahnbulleh
Defendants Bondo and Fahnbulleh appealed their convictions and sentences on several counts of fraud in connection with their work on a humanitarian aid program in Africa funded by an agency of the United States government. The court concluded that defendants were not denied a speedy trial where the district court did not clearly err in granting the 18 U.S.C. 3161(h)(8) delay periods; there was no error in regards to subject matter jurisdiction and venue; the district court did not err by admitting two government exhibits into evidence; the district court did not err in denying a motion by Bondo for a mistrial where the improper remarks by the prosecutor did not prejudice defendants; and the district court properly calculated defendants' sentencing guidelines range. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Fahnbulleh" on Justia Law
United States v. Olejiya
Defendants Olejiya and Akinadewo appealed their sentences after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud based on their participation in a scheme that involved opening fraudulent bank accounts. The court concluded that the district court properly applied an aggravated role enhancement of three levels for Olejiya and four for Akinadewo. The district court did not fail to make the factual findings necessary to support a 12 level increase for both based on the amount of intended loss in the conspiracy. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Olejiya" on Justia Law
United States v. Matthews
Defendant, convicted of unlawful possession with intent to distribute fifty grams or more of methamphetamine, appealed from the district court's judgment sentencing him to a period of incarceration, followed by supervised release. The court held that it need not decide the sufficiency of the affidavit at issue because the exclusionary rule was inapplicable to the fruits of the search under United States v. Leon. Further, the district court did not err in refusing to hold an evidentiary hearing under Franks v. Delaware. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Matthews" on Justia Law
United States v. Wheeler
Defendant appealed her conviction and sentence for offenses related to her fraudulent collection of millions of dollars from Medicaid for procedures that were never performed. The court rejected defendant's evidentiary challenges and concluded that the district court acted within its discretion in limiting the cross-examination of a Health and Human Services investigator; ruling that defendant could use the superbills at issue only as evidence of her state of mind if she first provided a foundation; refusing to declare a mistrial because of allegedly prejudicial comments made during trial; and by admitting testimony regarding the care of developmentally-disabled patients. The court concluded that defendant's sentence did not violate the Double Jeopardy Clause; the district court did not err in applying an enhancement under U.S.S.G. 3B1.3 for those who abuse a position of trust; and defendant waived her argument regarding the forfeiture argument. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Wheeler" on Justia Law
Thomas v. Holder, Jr., et al.
Appellant failed to respond to the court's order to show cause why he should not be compelled to pay a filing fee. The court dismissed the appeal for failure to prosecute. Appellant then moved for reconsideration. Appellant sought to compel the Attorney General to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule V, arguing primarily that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. 812, requires such action because of the drug's accepted medical uses. The court concluded, however, that the agency to which the Attorney General has delegated its CSA reclassification authority engaged in no abuse of discretion when it refused to reclassify marijuana as appropriate for medical use. Further, mandamus is not warranted in this case. Accordingly, the court denied the motion because the claims appellant raised in his appeal were without merit and the court saw no reason to reinstate his appeal. View "Thomas v. Holder, Jr., et al." on Justia Law
United States v. Clark
Defendant appealed his conviction for bank and wire fraud. The court rejected defendant's challenges to his conviction, his aggravating role enhancement, and his restitution obligation. However, the court vacated defendant's sentence and remanded for resentencing because the government conceded that the district court's retroactive application of the Sentencing Guidelines violated the Ex Post Facto Clause where the district court sentenced defendant under the 2010 Guidelines for crimes he committed years earlier. View "United States v. Clark" on Justia Law
Abdullah, et al. v. Obama, et al.
Hani Saleh Rashid Abdullah, a Yemeni national who has been detained by the United States at Guantanamo since 2002 as an enemy combatant, appealed the denial of his motion for preliminary injunctive relief from holding him in violation of a 1946 executive agreement between Yemen and the United States. The court concluded that Abdullah has not made a clear showing that he was entitled to the requested declaration. Even accepting arguendo, first, his claim that indefinite detention violates the Yemen Agreement and, second, that he could enforce the protections of the Agreement in court, he failed to demonstrate that he was likely to succeed on his habeas petition because he has not shown that his detention was indefinite or otherwise illegal. The court also concluded that Abdullah failed to demonstrate that the remaining preliminary injunction factors weigh in his favor. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Abdullah, et al. v. Obama, et al." on Justia Law