News2017-12-18T21:16:38+00:00

Legal News & Updates

Congratulations!

To Arun Ravindran and Vanessa Chen for securing a government dismissal in a case involving drug and gun charges. Arun and Vanessa moved to suppress the evidence and the magistrate judge agreed that the evidence should be excluded. Rather than objecting to the judge's report and recommendation, the government dismissed.

May 14th, 2018|

Sessions v. Dimaya (April 17, 2018)

Relying on Johnson, the court, in an opinion by Justice Elena Kagan, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and, in large part, Neil Gorsuch, affirmed the 9th Circuit’s ruling that Section 16(b) is unconstitutionally vague. The court began by noting that to determine whether a person’s conduct falls within the ambit of Section 16(b), “courts use a distinctive form of what we have called the categorical approach.” Rather than assessing whether the particular facts of someone’s conduct pose the substantial risk required under the statute, courts consider the overall nature of the offense, and ask “whether ‘the ordinary case’ of an offense poses the requisite risk.” The court went on to conclude that defining the “ordinary case” under the “crime of violence” provision poses the same vagueness and due process problems, including unpredictability and arbitrariness, as those identified in Johnson. As the court summed it up, “Johnson tells us how to resolve this case.  … [N]one of the minor linguistic disparities in the statutes makes any real difference.” In a section of the opinion not joined by Gorsuch, a plurality of the court rejected the government’s argument that “a less searching form of the void-for-vagueness doctrine applies here than [...]

April 30th, 2018|

United States v. Whitman, No. 15-14846 (Apr. 24, 2018)

In United States v. Whitman, No. 15-14846 (Apr. 24, 2018) (William Pryor, Julie Carnes, Antoon), the Court upheld convictions and sentences for bribery, wire fraud, theft, and obstruction stemming the fraudulent procurement of government contracts. One defendant challenged his bribery conviction on the ground that the court erred by failing to instruct the jury that giving illegal gratuities was a lesser-included offense of bribery. The Court rejected that argument because the defendant advanced an exculpatory defense predicated on extortion that, if believed, would have required the jury to acquit him of both bribery and giving illegal gratuities. The evidence thus would not have permitted the jury to acquit him of bribery but convict of him giving illegal gratuities. As a result, the Court found it unnecessary to decide whether the latter was a lesser included offense of the former. Another defendant challenged his sentence on the ground that he was not responsible for the entire loss amount attributable to the criminal scheme. The Court rejected his argument that the actions of other government employees were taken independently and not the product of any criminal agreement. The record permitted the district court to infer that he agreed to participate in a [...]

April 30th, 2018|