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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.

January 27, 2023
Second Circuit Orders New Trial Where Voir Dire Did not Screen for Bias: Nieves

Facts:  Court Rejects Nieves' voir dire Questions and holds Inadequate Jury Selection In May 2019, Nieves was indicted on four counts of witness retaliation and witness tampering offenses. Prior to trial, both sides proposed gang-related voir dire questions to screen for potential gang-related biases. Voir dire proceeded typically until the court announced it would begin peremptory […]

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January 27, 2023
Eighth Circuit Reverses Conviction Based on "No Further Prosecution" Clause: Thomas

United States v. Thomas, No. 21-3690 (8th Cir. 2023) Facts:  Defendant Signs Plea Agreement with "No Further Prosecution" Clause, is Further Prosecuted In May 2018, Thomas pled guilty in the Southern District of Iowa to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. 841, 846. In exchange for his guilty plea, […]

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January 24, 2023
Eighth Circuit finds Evidence at CP trial Insufficient: McCoy

Facts:  Hidden Camera, Debate About Explicit Conduct McCoy’s ex wife testified at trial that while collecting McCoy’s belongings in his closet, she found a flash drive.  McCoy’s brother also found a hidden camera while fixing a guest bathroom event. Inside the camera was a flash drive that had two videos of a minor.  Based on […]

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January 24, 2023
Mississippi District Court Deviates from Sentencing Guidelines in Methamphetamine Case:  Robinson

Facts:  Meth Case, Request to Deviate From Guidelines Robinson was charged with and pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. He was found to be responsible for 214.4 grams. The purity of the meth in this case was between 96% and 97%.  He was accused of being caught […]

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January 20, 2023
Sixth Circuit Reverses Denial of Motion to Suppress: Grant

In United States v. Grant, 21-3686 (6th Cir. 2023) the Sixth Circuit reversed the denial of a motion to suppress. Facts:  Police Get Search Warrant Based on Scant Information Police officers in Ohio received an anonymous tip that Grant had supplied a large amount of cocaine. Several months later, police set up a controlled buy with […]

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January 6, 2023
Fourth Circuit Finds Insufficient Evidence to Support Conviction For Drug Analogue Possession: Belk

In July 2019, a jury found Belk guilty on several counts, including possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance analogue. On appeal before the Fourth Circuit, Belk argued-among other claims-that there was insufficient evidence for the jury to convict him of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance analogue. Belk argued on appeal […]

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December 16, 2022
Ninth Circuit Vacates Guilty Plea Based on Insufficient Factual Basis for Conspiracy

United States v. Shortman, No. 21-30198 (9th Cir. Dec. 8, 2022) Facts:  Shortman Pleads guilty to conspiracy charges, later alleges no factual basis. Shortman pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute. During the plea hearing, Shortman admitted that she […]

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December 16, 2022
Firearm Enhancement Reversed By Sixth Circuit Due to Insufficient Evidence of Constructive Possession

United States v. Wilson, No. 22-5068 (6th Cir. Dec. 6, 2022) Facts:  Rifle Found Under Wilson's Seat Along with Other Drugs In In April 2019, officers responded to a shoplifting call and saw three individuals matching the suspects’ description sitting in a truck. One suspect owned the truck and was sitting in the driver’s seat, […]

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December 9, 2022
Fourth Circuit Holds Traffic Stop Improperly Extended: Miller

In United States v. Miller, No. 21-4086 (4th Cir. 2022), the Fourth Circuit held that a police stop had been improperly extended. Miller is Stopped for a Traffic Offense, Eventually Charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm Miller was charged with one count of unlawfully possessing a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g). […]

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December 7, 2022
Johnson, Dimaya and Davis: The Supreme Court Takes up Vaugeness

On June 24, 2019, the Supreme Court decided the case of United States v. Davis.  The decision was a major decision because, in a 5-4 vote, the Court found that a criminal statute was unenforceable as unconstitutionally vague.  Specifically, it held that the federal definition of a “crime of violence” contained in 18 U.S.C. § […]

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