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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 20, 2022
Ninth Circuit Overturns Trial Conviction Because of Courtroom Closure: Allen, No. 21-10060

FACTS:  Courtroom closed, Audio Stream Only Allen was found sitting in what appeared to be a stolen vehicle.  A loaded rifle was also found in the vehicle.  He was eventually charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g). In September of 2020, when […]

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May 14, 2022
Third Circuit: USSG Commentary not Controlling over Guidelines: Abreu

FACTS:  Felon in Possession case with Enhancement for Prior Crime of Violence Abreu pled guilty to felon in possession of a weapon.  In preparing his guidelines the probation department stated that USSG 2k2.1(a)(4) applied.  That thing sets a base offense level of 20 if: the defendant committed any part of the instant offense subsequent to […]

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April 25, 2022
Fifth Circuit Remands case for Acceptance of a Plea Deal Based on an Illusory Benefit: Pierre

Pierre was a suspected courier for a drug conspiracy.  The agents saw Pierre throw two bags of cocaine into a co-conspirator’s car.  He was later indicted for conspiring to traffic 280 grams or more of cocaine base and distributing 28 or more grams of cocaine base.   The parties came to a plea agreement: Under it, […]

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April 25, 2022
Eleventh Circuit Remands case for Failure to Elicit Objections: Mosely

Facts: Felon in Possession, Judge does not ask for objections before carrying out sentence. Mosely was involved in a foot and car chase with police. During the chase he drove through stop signs and almost crashed into other cars. While running, he hid a gun under a trailer near a house. He was arrested near […]

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April 16, 2022
Ninth Circuit Reverses Conviction because of Constructive Amendment: Blessett

In Blessett, the Ninth Circuit reversed a conviction because of a constructive amendment between the indictment and the jury charge. Facts:  CP case, possible Constructive Indictment Blessett was arrested and a search warrant was executed on his items.  Officers found a laptop, two tablets and five phones.  There were 2009 images and 57 videos of […]

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March 16, 2022
Supreme Court Explains "Occasions Clause" case: Wooden

On March 7, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Wooden v. United States, case number 20-5279 (2022). At issue in the Wooden case was how to interpret a particular phrase in the ACCA penalty clause found at 18 U.S.C. 924(e). Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a good decision today. We are […]

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February 27, 2022

FACTS:  Warrantless search of bag possessed by person who was handcuffed and face-down on the ground Buster was believed to be a suspect in a domestic assault.  After refusing a consensual encounter with the officers Buster “took off running,” tripped and fell.  He was wearing a “single strap bag that goes across your body” and […]

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February 12, 2022
"Recklessness" and Crimes of Violence: Toki

Facts: Toki's (and Maumau's) Well-Tread waters Toki, Maumau and Kamahele were found guilty of several offenses including convictions based on VICAR offenses (remember that VICAR is engaging in crimes like murder, kidnapping, assault and threats that are for the purpose of furthering an illegal enterprise such as a gang) as well as 924(c) offenses. The […]

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January 29, 2022
Supreme Court Decides Confrontation Clause Issue: Hemphill vs. New York

Facts:  Shooting Death, Fingers Pointed, Transcripts Used In the Bronx there was a fight and then later a shooting.  A stray bullet shot from a 9-millimeter handgun (this is important) struck a two-year old kid.  A witness said that Morris was the shooter.  The witness came back to the station and said that Hemphill was […]

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December 24, 2021
You must try to give defendants chance to proceed pro se if they ask: Taylor

The Third Circuit held that the district court erred when it failed to conduct a hearing after Mr. Taylor invoked his right to represent himself.

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