Criminal Law

Daily criminal law and procedure case summaries, brought to you by
  1. (United States Second Circuit) - Affirmed in part, vacated in part. Defendant challenged his conviction for using firearms in the commission of violent crimes. Because categorizing crimes of violence cannot be done on a case-by-case basis, the defendant’s charge for using firearms in the commission of a robbery is vacated.
  2. (California Court of Appeal) - Vacated conviction. Defendant was sentenced to life without parole for the conviction of a murder in 1986. He petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus asserting that newly available DNA evidence shows that he was not at the scene of the crime.
  3. (California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Defendant was convicted of vehicular manslaughter. Defendant challenged the judgment contending that the jury received confusing and conflicting instructions. The appeals court held that if any error occurred it was harmless.
  4. (United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed. A Texas bank robbery was properly considered a crime of violence and it was a second or subsequent offense in relation to an attempt made two days earlier.
  5. (United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed. The application of two sentencing enhancements in the case of a person who pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud was not a procedural error.
  6. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Finding the crime described in Article 129 of South Korea’s Criminal Code fits squarely within the definition of “bribing a public official” from 18 U.S.C. Section 1956, the indictment was sufficient and there was no instructional error.
  7. (United States Second Circuit) - Affirmed, remanded for resentencing. Because defendant’s letter describing his allegiance to the Islamic State was never translated or otherwise communicated to his wife, the marital communication privilege does not apply.
  8. (California Court of Appeal) - Appeal dismissed. Defendant pled no contest to identity theft. She was sentenced to county jail and the court imposed various fees and assessments. Defendant challenged the fees and assessments but claimed no error at trial or at the time of sentencing as required by Penal Code 1237.2. Therefore, the appeal must be dismissed
  9. (California Court of Appeal) - Reversed and remand for new trial. Defendant is a sexually violent predator who is currently receiving treatment at a state mental hospital. He challenged the court order denying his petition to be placed in a conditional release program on the grounds that he was denied a fair trial. The appeals court agreed stating that the prosecutor interfered with Defendant’s right to testify and the trial court erroneously refused to admit his release plan into evidence. The appeals court held that a fair trial is a fundamental right.
  10. (United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed. Different charges involved in a nested set of charges were divisible and a jury could find the accused guilty of the underlying Hobbs Act robberies.
  11. (United States First Circuit) - Affirmed. A motion to correct a 1996 sentence as a career offender was not timely because the motion asserts a right not recognized in caselaw.
  12. (United States Ninth Circuit) - Reversed. The panel held that, in the context of the restitution statute, “period of incarceration” does not include pretrial detention. The district court’s order to seize funds in the defendant’s inmate trust account is reversed.
  13. (California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed conviction. Remanded for sentencing. Defendant was convicted of several crimes including kidnapping with intent to commit a sex offense. The trial court found certain sentence enhancement applied. The appeals court affirmed the judgment, but found several sentencing errors.
  14. (California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed. Juvenile defendant, R.C., a high school student, used his cellphone to record a video while he was having consensual sex with a female high school student. She did not give permission. She requested that it be deleted. R.C. agreed to delete it if she would have sex with his friend. The Juvenile Court found that R.C. had committed an unauthorized invasion of privacy. R.C. argues that there was insufficient evidence that the cellphone was concealed as required by Penal Code 647. The appeals court offered an interpretation of “concealed” that include not telling about the intention to video record and keeping the cellphone hidden from sight, even though he later announced he was recording.
  15. (United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed. Even if an attorney's failure to object to a question about his immigration status during a murder trial had been ineffectual assistance it was not prejudicial.