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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.

May 10, 2018
Tenth Circuit Reverses Drug Conviction Based on Miscalculation

The Tenth Circuit recently reversed in United States v. Dahda. Dahda was convicted on a drug conspiracy for over 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana. On appeal, Dahda alleged seven grounds for relief, including that the district court erred in applying Dahda’s base offense level by miscalculating the amount of marijuana attributed to Dahda. While […]

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May 10, 2018
Ninth Circuit Vacates Conviction Based on Constructive Amendment

In United States v. Ricky Davis, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded a conviction for attempted sex trafficking of a minor. The defendant was accused of brining a minor to his house and discussing the possibility of the minor making money by going on dates, taking photos and assisting her in getting […]

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May 10, 2018
Ninth Circuit Remands Case for Unconstitutionally Vague Supervised Release Conditions

In United States v. Evans, Nos. 16-10310, 16-10311, the Ninth Circuit vacated terms of supervised release handed down by the Northern District of California because they were unconstitutionally vague. Evans was charged with a probation violation as well as felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Evans was sentenced to two years for the […]

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May 10, 2018
Fourth Circuit Announces New Savings Clause Test in United States v. Wheeler

United States v. Wheeler, __F.3d__, 2018 WL 1514418 (4th Cir. 2018) The Fourth Circuit recently handed down a very important and precedential decision on the applicability of the savings clause to the legality of a petitioner’s sentence. Appellant Gerald Wheeler was charged in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina […]

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May 10, 2018
Eleventh Circuit Vacates Sentence So Defendant Can Get Benefit of Time Served in Federal Institution

In United States v. Jacinto-Gonzalez, 2018 WL 1378021, the Eleventh Circuit vacated a sentence in order for an inmate to be credited with the time that he spent in a federal facility. Jacinto- Gonzalez was arrested and charged with being in the United States after being previously deported. He pled guilty on June 23 and […]

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May 10, 2018
Third Circuit Vacates Sentence for Plain Error Due to Improper Sentencing Guideline Calculation

In United States v. Bell, 2018 WL 1432956, the Third Circuit vacated an improperly assigned sentence. Bell pled guilty to the offense of felon in possession of a firearm. He was enhanced at sentencing due to the ACCA and his priors. Bell’s first ground for appeal, that his priors did not meet the standard for the […]

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April 18, 2018
SCOTUS Affirms Dimaya

The United States Supreme Court decided Dimaya v. Sessions. This case has far-reaching implications for federal inmates.

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March 26, 2018
Fifth Circuit Finds Ineffective Assistance of Counsel on Case Where Lawyer Does Very Little

In United States vs. Shepherd, No. 15-50991, the Fifth Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of a 2255 motion based on failure to properly investigate a claim. Shepherd was charged with Indecent Exposure to a Minor (Count One), a class six felony in Arizona; and Public Sexual Indecency to a minor,  [“to a minor” is […]

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March 21, 2018
Fifth Circuit Remands Crack Case for Resentencing Under Fair Sentencing Act

In Hicks v. United States, No. 11-50608, the Fifth Circuit remanded a sentence where the defendant’s alleged conduct was before the enactment of the Fair Sentencing Act but his sentencing was after the enactment of the Fair Sentencing Act. Hicks was arrested on April 8 and a search revealed 80 grams of crack cocaine.  His […]

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March 21, 2018
Sixth Circuit Holds That North Carolina Offense of Shooting Into Building Is Not A Violent Felony For ACCA

In Higdon v. United States, No. 17-5027, the Sixth Circuit held that an inmate’s prior conviction for discharging a firearm into an occupied structure was not a crime of violence. Higdon pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. The district court found that Higdon was an Armed Career Criminal based, in […]

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