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Nouvèl Jiridik ak Aktyalizasyon

United States v. Grushko, No. 20-10438 (Sept. 23, 2022)

In United States v. Grushko, No. 20-10438 (Sept. 23, 2022) (Jordan, Jill Pryor, Marcus), the Court affirmed the defendants’ convictions and sentences for conspiracy to commit access device fraud. First, the Court held that officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment by entering the defendants’ home after detaining them outside.  Under the totality of the circumstances, the officers had reason to believe that one of the defendants was still inside the home because they did not know the identity of the men they had detained.  Although they had previously seen a picture of the defendant, his appearance had since changed, and the officers were not permitted to look through the wallets of the men because they were not under arrest.  And the officers heard noises from inside the home, and so had reason to believe that the defendant was still inside. Second, the district court did not abuse its discretion in making comments to the voir dire panel about types of forensic evidence that might be seen on TV.  Although the statements were unnecessary and unwise, it was not reversible error because the court did not suggest that the government did not have to prove the elements or was relieved [...]

September 23rd, 2022|

United States v. Doak, No. 19-15106 (Sept. 7, 2022)

In United States v. Doak, No. 19-15106 (Sept. 7, 2022) (Grant, Luck, Hull), the Court largely affirmed the defendants’ convictions and sentences for offenses involving the transportation and sexual abuse of minors. As to the counts under 2423(a)—charging the transportation of minors with the intent that they engage in unlawful sexual activity—the defendants argued that the indictment was insufficient because it omitted the underlying state statutes prohibiting the sexual activity.  The Court rejected that argument because the specific state-law offenses are means rather than elements of a 2423(a) offense.  Thus, the state statutes did not need to be included in the indictment; including the statutory language of 2423(a) was enough.  Nor were the defendants deprived of fair notice; although it is best practice to include the state statutes, the indictment here contained key details about the defendant’s intended sexual activity. The Court next rejected the defendants’ sufficiency arguments.  As for the main defendant, the evidence at trial was sufficient for a jury to find that he transported the minors with an intent to sexually abuse the minors; even if he had other innocent reasons as well, that did not allow him to elude liability.  As for the co-defendant, who was [...]

September 7th, 2022|

United States v. Ifediba, No. 20-13218 (Aug. 25, 2022)

In United States v. Ifediba, No. 20-13218 (Aug. 25, 2022) (Jill Pryor, Branch, Ed Carnes), the Court affirmed the defendants' convictions and sentences. Mr. Ifediba, a doctor, operated a clinic called CCMC, and employed his sister, Ms. Ozuligbo, as a nurse there.  Mr. Ifediba was alleged to have been running a "pill mill" to distribute controlled substances to patients who had no medical need for them, as well as running an allergy-fraud scheme.  Mr. Ifediba and Ms. Ozuligbo were indicted on substantive counts of health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, money laundering of the clinic's unlawful proceeds, and conspiracy to money launder.  Mr. Ifediba was also indicted for unlawfully distributing controlled substances for no legitimate medical purpose and for operating CCMC as a "pill mill." On appeal, Mr. Ifediba first challenged the district court's exclusion of his evidence of good care he provided his patients to prove that his medical practice was legitimate.  The Court agreed with the district court that such evidence was improper character evidence because evidence of good conduct is not admissible to negate criminal intent.  The Court also held that the exclusion of such evidence did not violate Mr. Ifediba's constitutional right to present [...]

August 29th, 2022|

United States v. Utsick, No. 16-16505 (Aug. 22, 2022)

In United States v. Utsick, No. 16-16505 (Aug. 22, 2022) (Newsom, Marcus, Covington (M.D. Fla.)), the Court affirmed Mr. Utsick's sentence and order of restitution. Mr. Utsick was charged with nine counts of mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 based upon an earlier civil action brought by the SEC regarding securities fraud.  Before authorities could arrest him, however, he fled to Brazil.  The United States filed an extradition request, which Brazil granted.  Mr. Utsick then returned to the United States on the eve of his trial.  He entered into a plea agreement--agreeing to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud--and the court sentenced him to 220 months' imprisonment and ordered him to pay $169,177,338 in restitution.  On appeal, he challenged his sentence and order of restitution as violative of the extradition treaty between the United States and Brazil as well as the voluntariness of his guilty plea. First, Mr. Utsick argued that his sentence and restitution order violated the terms of his extradition order, the extradition treaty between the United States and Brazil, and the international law doctrine known as the "rule of specialty."  He claimed that all three barred the district court from relying on any conduct prior [...]

August 22nd, 2022|

Alvarado-Linares v. United States, No. 19-14994 (Aug. 16, 2022)

In Alvarado-Linares v. United States, No. 19-14994 (Aug. 16, 2022) (Newsom, Branch, Brasher), the Court affirmed the district court's denial of Mr. Alvarado-Linares's Davis-based § 2255 motion. Mr. Alvarado-Linares was convicted of one count of conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d); four counts under the Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering Act ("VICAR"), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)--two for murder and two for attempted murder, in violation of Official Code of Georgia §§ 16-5-1(a) and 16-4-1; and four counts of using a firearm in committing those offenses, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).  He was sentenced to three concurrent life sentences plus eighty-five years.  Mr. Alvarado-Linares filed a motion to vacate his four firearms convictions--which resulted in 85-years of consecutive imprisonment--as unconstitutional in light of Davis. The Court granted a certificate of appealability on one issue: whether Mr. Alvarado-Linares's four firearms convictions are unconstitutional in light of Davis.  To resolve the issue, the Court noted that Mr. Alvarado-Linares must "bear the burden of showing that he is actually entitled to relief on his Davis claim, meaning he will have to show that his § 924(c) convictions[s] resulted from application of solely the [now-unconstitutional] residual clause," [...]

August 22nd, 2022|

United States v. Pate, No. 20-10545 (Aug. 10, 2022)

In United States v. Pate, No. 20-10545 (Aug. 10, 2022) (Newsom, Branch, Lagoa), the Court affirmed Mr. Pate's convictions predicated on violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1521, which prohibits the filing of a false lien or encumbrance against the property of any officer or employee of the United States on account of the performance of official duties. Mr. Pate was accused of filing various false liens against the former Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and the former Secretary of the Treasury for acts they performed as part of their official duties.  He filed these false liens after they had left their positions with the federal government.  On appeal, the Court considered whether § 1521 applies to false liens filed against former federal officers and employees for official actions they performed while in service with the federal government. The Court held that the plain language of § 1521 covers both current and former federal officers and employees.  For purposes of § 1521, Congress premised liability on action taken against "an individual described in section 1114," which itself addresses "any officer or employee of the United States or of any agency in any branch of the United States Government." As such, and giving effect to all of § 1521's provisions, [...]

August 15th, 2022|
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