Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for credit union robbery and using a firearm during a crime of violence. The court held that federal credit union robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2113(a), is categorically a "crime of violence" for the purposes of a conviction for using a firearm during a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A)(ii); although the district court abused its discretion in admitting the customer service representative's testimony regarding the robbery's impact on her in the aftermath of the crime, the error was harmless in light of the totality of circumstances presented in this record; the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting testimony from other victims of the robbery; the district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding a photograph of a third party that defendant claimed actually committed the robbery; and the district court did not err, much less plainly err, by sentencing defendant as a career offender under the residual clause of the 2014 edition of United States Sentencing Guidelines section 4B1.2(a)(2). View "United States v. Hendricks" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his sentence of 60 months in prison for cyberstalking and making hoax threats. The Second Circuit held that the district court erred in applying a two-level sentencing enhancement under USSG 2A6.2(b)(1)(A) for violation of a court protection order. In light of the new requirements Amendment 805 imposed, the district court erred by asking only whether, under New York law, defendant was on notice of the issuance and contents of the order. The court held that defendant did not receive service of the disputed ex parte order in accordance with New York law and thus, that the issuing court ever exercised personal jurisdiction over defendant. Therefore, the court remanded to the district court for further proceedings. View "United States v. Thompson" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated defendant's 360 month sentence and five year term of supervised release for a single count of conspiring to distribute at least 200 grams of crack cocaine. Defendant pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement in return for an estimated sentence of 108 to 135 months in prison. The court held that the government breached defendant's plea agreement when the government, based on information that it knew at the time of the plea, sought a substantially higher sentence than that estimated in defendant's plea deal. In this case, defendant could not have reasonably expected that the government would change its position in such a manner when he consented to the Pimentel estimate in his plea bargain. Accordingly, the court remanded to a different district court judge for resentencing. View "United States v. Walker" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed Defendant Lyle and Van Praagh's conviction for charges related to the distribution of methamphetamine. The court held that the evidence at trial was sufficient to support defendants' convictions; the challenged searches and seizures did not violate the Fourth Amendment; the admission of Lyle's statements did not violate the Fifth Amendment; and Van Praagh's sentence was reasonable. View "United States v. Lyle" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated defendants' convictions for marriage fraud and immigration fraud. The court held that the trial judge's ex parte meeting with the jurors and his instruction about assessing the credibility of a testifying defendant were sufficiently sharp departures from the law of this circuit as to undermine the court's confidence in the fairness of the trial. In this case, during the course of the trial, the judge met with jurors ex parte to discuss the jurors' concerns about two defendants' out-of-court behavior. The judge also instructed the jurors that they could consider defendants' self-interest in the outcome of the case when analyzing their trial testimony. View "United States v. Mehta" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss remaining criminal charges against them on Sixth Amendment speedy trial grounds. The court held that the delay was an unconstitutional deprivation of defendants' speedy trial rights where defendants endured an extraordinary sixty‐eight‐month delay, suffered anxiety occasioned by the government's nearly three‐year deliberation over whether to argue that they should be sentenced to death, and repeatedly requested a speedy trial. View "United States v. Black" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order requiring defendant to pay a civil penalty of almost $93 million in a civil suit brought by the SEC. Defendant was the managing general partner and portfolio manager of Galleon Management and its affiliated hedgefunds. Defendant was found to have executed trades in Galleon's accounts and in the account of Rajiv Goel, an Intel executive who had provided tips to defendant, in the stock of five companies on the basis of inside information. The court held that a plain reading of Section 21A(a)(2) of the Securities and Exchange Act indicates that it permits a civil penalty to be based on the total profit resulting from the violation. In this case, defendant executed Galleon's and Goel's illegal trades and thus his civil penalty could be calculated under subsection (a)(2) based on the profit gained or loss avoided as a result of defendant's unlawful purchases and sales. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by determining that every factor in SEC v. Haligiannis, 470 F. Supp. 2d 373, 386 (S.D.N.Y. 2007), favored the use of a treble penalty. View "SEC v. Rajaratnam" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated defendant's sentence of mandatory life in prison and remanded for resentencing. The court held that defendant's prior conviction for sodomy in the second degree under New York law did not qualify as a "prior sex conviction" under 18 U.S.C. 3559(e). The court applied the categorical approach and held that the New York statute under which defendant was convicted sweeps more broadly than its federal equivalent. View "United States v. Kroll" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's order of removal. The court held that petitioner's conviction for conspiracy to commit money laundering under 18 U.S.C. 1956(h) is an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(D). The court also held that the IJ's reliance on the forfeiture order was appropriate, and the IJ did not commit clear error in finding that the government established that petitioner laundered more than $10,000 by clear and convincing evidence. View "Barikyan v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to three counts of federal bank robbery. The court held that federal bank robbery by intimidation in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2113(a) was a crime of violence under the 2015 version of the Career Offender Guidelines, USSG 4B1.1–2, because it was specifically enumerated in the commentary clause and conformed to the definition of generic robbery. The court also held that New York third‐degree robbery in violation of New York Penal Law 160.05 was a crime of violence under the force clause of USSG 4B1.2(a)(1). Accordingly, the district court appropriately applied the 2015 (pre-amendment) Career Offender Guidelines' sentencing enhancement in this case. View "United States v. Moore" on Justia Law