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Category: Appeals

Whether you went to trial or pleaded guilty, a federal criminal direct appeal remains the most important avenue for you to fight your conviction.

September 23, 2022
Fourth Circuit Holds that Procedural and Substantive Reasonableness Applies to 404 Resentencing: Swain

United States v. Swain, No. 21-6167 (4th Cir. 2022) Swain was eligible for a sentence reduction under section 404(b) of the First Step Act. After filing his motion, U.S. Probation determined that Swain’s Guidelines dropped from 324 to 405 months down to 262 to 327 months. Swain further argued that his Guidelines should be 210 […]

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September 23, 2022
Eighth Circuit Vacates Career Sentence and Reconsiders Prior Opinion about Attempted Use of Force: Fraizer

Facts:  Repeat Offender Sentenced As Career Offender For Prior "Crime of Violence" Frazier was sentenced to a term of 240 months imprisonment after the district court determined him to be a career offender under U.S.S.G. 4B1.1. On appeal, Frazier argued that his Iowa conviction for Intimidation with a Dangerous Weapon was not a “crime of […]

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August 26, 2022
Tenth Circuit Throws Out Warrantless Search of Backpack: Johnson

Facts:  Warantless Search of Backpack, Motion to Suppress Denied in District Court Johnson was arrested following an encounter on a Greyhound bus with law enforcement. Officers discovered two packages of methamphetamine in Johnson’s backpack, and Johnson gave some incriminating statements. In the district court, Johnson moved to suppress the physical evidence and his statements. The […]

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August 26, 2022
First Circuit Orders New Trial After Lawyer's Conflict of Interest: Sheperd

Facts: Sheperd's defense counsel also represented government's star witness. Sheperd was convicted in the district court for Medicare fraud. On appeal before the Fifth Circuit, Sheperd argued her Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel had been violated after it was discovered Sheperd’s pretrial counsel also represented one of the government’s star witnesses. The […]

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August 18, 2022
First Circuit Vacates Conviction After Finding Trial Court Erred in Limiting Expert Testimony: Soler

FACTS:  Expert Testimony Limited, then Soler Convicted At Trial After a four-day trial, Soler was found guilty of attempting persuade, induce, or entice a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. At trial, Soler sought to present testimony from an expert with a Ph.D in clinical psychology and who is a Board-certified psychologist working at […]

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August 10, 2022
Seventh Circuit Vacates Sentence on Conflicting Findings in Davis

Conflicting findings result in Seventh Circuit vacating sentence in Davis. Davis Charged with Felon in Possession Davis Tosses  Handgun In June 2019, Chicago police were dispatched to investigate a report of shots fired. When officers arrived on the scene, they saw two cars had just collided. One of the cars had a bullet hole in […]

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August 10, 2022
Third Circuit Affirms Decision Not to Apply Intended Loss: Xue

Intended loss not applicable affirmed by Third Circuit in case of Xue's conviction. Scientist Convicted of Scheme to Steal Trade Secrets Xue was a scientist employed by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (“GSK”). In 2016, a federal grand jury charged Xue and others with engaging in a scheme to steal trade secrets from GSK. Xue pled guilty […]

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August 4, 2022
Rule 11 Violations Result in Vacatur of Guilty Plea

In Goliday, the Seventh Circuit vacated the guilty plea because of Rule 11 violations. United States v. Goliday, No. 21-1326 (7th Cir. 2022) History of Goliday's Case Goliday was charged in a superseding indictment with three counts of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1). He […]

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July 26, 2022
2nd Cir.: Substantive Hobbs Act Robbery Not Crime of Violence for Career Offender: Chappelle

In United States vs. Chappelle, the Second Circuit held that Substantive Hobbs Act Robbery was not a crime of violence for the career offender enhancement. Chappelle's Crime and Sentencing Chappelle was charged in a three-count indictment with conspiracy to distribute narcotics, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 846 and 841, conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, in […]

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July 20, 2022
Term of Imprisonment to Promote Rehabilitation Improper: Shaw

In Shaw, the Seventh Circuit held that a sentence that was in order to promote rehabilitation was improper. Shaw's Underlying Crime and Supervised Release Troubles Shaw pled guilty to possessing with intent to distribute cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A), and being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of […]

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