Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

by
Defendant appealed his sentence after he pleaded guilty to an information charging securities fraud, mail fraud, and obstruction and impeding the Internal Revenue Laws. Defendant, a former registered investment broker, perpetrated fraud on the clients of ELIV Group, an unregistered investment and consulting group that he owned and operated. The Second Circuit vacated in part the district court's sentence of incarceration as procedurally unreasonable because of an incorrect criminal history finding. Accordingly, the court remanded as to this issue. The court affirmed the district court's imposition of the amended restitution order where the district court corrected the restitution amount during resentencing. View "United States v. Valente" on Justia Law

by
In this redacted case, petitioner appealed the district court's judgment after filing a petition of error coram nobis seeking to vacate his earlier conviction. Petitioner argued that defense counsel was ineffective in affirmatively assuring him that there should be no immigration consequences for pleading guilty when, in fact, the crime to which he pleaded was an aggravated felony resulting in mandatory removal. The Second Circuit held that the district court improperly denied petitioner's coram nobis petition and reversed its judgment. Because the district court neither employed the correct legal standard nor examined whether petitioner was prejudiced under Strickland v. Washington, the court analyzed the question itself. In this case, the government conceded that counsel's actions were objectively unreasonable. The court held that petitioner showed that counsel's immigration misadvice was prejudicial because he had a reasonable probability either of negotiating a different plea of going to trial or litigating the loss amount. Furthermore, petitioner provided sufficient reasons to justify his delay in seeking to vacate his conviction. The court remanded with instructions for the district court to grant the writ, vacate petitioner's plea and conviction, and transfer the case. View "Doe v. United States" on Justia Law

by
The Second Circuit reversed the district court's denial of a petition for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254. Petitioner was convicted of second degree murder. The court held that, notwithstanding a limiting instruction by the trial court, a detective's testimony that an accomplice had stated that petitioner paid him to commit the murder violated the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. Therefore, the state court's ruling to the contrary constituted an objectively unreasonable application of clearly established federal law. The court remanded with instructions to grant the petition. View "Orlando v. Nassau County District Attorney's Office" on Justia Law

by
Defendant challenged the district court's revocation of his supervised release, principally arguing that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress and admitting evidence of postarrest statements. The Second Circuit found no merit in defendant's Fourth Amendment challenges to the stop and search of the vehicle. However, the court held that evidence of statements by the driver that incriminated defendant without incriminating the driver did not fall within the hearsay exception provided by Rule 804(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Evidence for statements against the interest of the declarant, and that the district court did not perform the analyses required under Rule 804(b)(3)(B) or under Rule 32.1(b)(2)(C) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, in order to determine the admissibility of the declarant's other statements. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment, remanding for further proceedings. View "United States v. Ojudun" on Justia Law

by
The Second Circuit reversed the district court's grant of a 28 U.S.C. 2255 petition to reduce defendant's sentence. The court held that the district court erred in concluding that defendant's prior convictions for the New York offenses of robbery in the third degree and attempted robbery in the third degree did not qualify as predicate "violent felonies" under the Armed Career Criminal Act. Accordingly, the court remanded for the district court to reinstate defendant's original sentence. View "United States v. Thrower" on Justia Law

by
Defendant appealed his conviction and sentence for possessing child pornography. The court held that the district court did not err in denying defendant's motion to suppress evidence where, even assuming the warrant was not supported by probable cause, the good faith exception applied; the court rejected defendant's claim with respect to the interstate or foreign commerce element of the crime of conviction; and the district court properly recognized that the mandatory minimum of ten years applied to defendant. However, the court agreed with defendant that his "risk" condition of supervised release was vague and afforded too much discretion to the probation officer. The court affirmed the polygraph special condition and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering polygraph examinations as part of defendant's sex offender treatment following his most recent conviction. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment in all respects except that the court vacated the "risk" condition of supervised release and remanded for clarification. View "United States v. Boles" on Justia Law

by
Petitioner appealed the district court's denial of his 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion to vacate his securities fraud convictions in light of United States v. Newman, 773F.3d438 (2dCir. 2014), in which the Second Circuit reversed the insider trading convictions of two tippers. The court affirmed the judgment and held that petitioner presented no viable claim that the personal benefit challenge was unavailable to his counsel on appeal; petitioner failed to show prejudice where the personal benefit instructions he challenged were so flawed as to deny him due process; and petitioner has not demonstrated his actual innocence where the evidence contained ample evidence that petitioner was in a conspiracy to trade on the basis of non public information and that petitioner benefited financially from the trading. View "Gupta v. United States" on Justia Law

by
Defendant challenged two conditions of his 2017 supervised release: a ban on accessing the Internet without prior specific permission of the court and a total ban on viewing or possessing adult pornography. The Second Circuit held that imposition of both the Internet ban and the pornography ban was substantively unreasonable on this record as these conditions were not reasonably related to the relevant sentencing factors. In this case, the court found that defendant was twice convicted over fifteen years ago, when he was twenty‐one and twenty‐two years old, of having unlawful sexual relationships with two thirteen‐year old girls, and since then has substantially, if imperfectly, complied with the terms of his extended periods of supervised release. Furthermore, the conditions imposed a greater restriction than reasonably necessary to achieve the goals of sentencing in light of defendant's crime of conviction (failure to register as a sex offender) and his criminal history. View "United States v. Eaglin" on Justia Law

by
The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud. In this case, defendant was a tipper who did not directly trade on material, non‐public information but rather shared it with a tippee who did. The court held that the evidence was sufficient to prove his criminal intent where the jury was not required to credit defendant's deposition testimony that he intended only to brag when he tipped his friend and financial advisor about an upcoming merger, and the evidence taken as a whole permitted the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant intended his communication to lead to trading in securities of the company in question. View "United States v. Klein (Schulman)" on Justia Law

by
The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment granting petitioner's 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion to set aside his sentence imposed under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). The court held that any offense that satisfies the essential elements of robbery under Con. Gen. Stat. 53a-133 involves use or threat of force capable of causing pain or injury and thus qualifies as an ACCA predicate. Therefore, defendant had three prior violent felonies including his conviction under section 53a-133. View "Shabazz v. United States" on Justia Law