Criminal Law

Daily criminal law and procedure case summaries, brought to you by
  1. (United States Second Circuit) - Affirmed a man's prison sentence for stalking a woman he once dated, under a federal stalking statute.
  2. (United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed the sentences of two men who pleaded guilty for their roles as middlemen in a cocaine deal.
  3. (United States Second Circuit) - Affirmed a defendant's drug-trafficking sentence. Held that the district court did not improperly delegate to the Probation Office the decision of whether the defendant, upon release, would be required to participate in mental health or substance abuse treatment.
  4. (United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed the denial of federal habeas relief to an Illinois state prisoner. Held that he had procedurally defaulted his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel and had not shown cause to excuse the default.
  5. (United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a defendant was entitled to a new trial on charges of transporting aliens for commercial advantage/private financial gain. The prosecution's reliance on videotaped deposition testimony of two material witnesses (who had since been deported) violated his rights under the Confrontation Clause, and the error was harmful.
  6. (United States Fifth Circuit) - Remanded for resentencing of a man who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and drug charges, finding that the district court had miscalculated the sentencing range. The Fifth Circuit raised the issue sua sponte.
  7. (United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed a sentence on drug-trafficking charges. Rejected the defendant's contention that he should not have been given a criminal history point for a previous drug-impaired-driving conviction.
  8. (United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed a defendant's conviction for activities involving a synthetic cannabinoid used to make a street drug. He contended that he honestly believed synthetic cannabinoids were legal substances.
  9. (United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a state prisoner was procedurally barred from seeking habeas corpus relief. He claimed ineffective assistance of counsel.
  10. (United States Second Circuit) - Held that there was an error in sentencing a man who pleaded guilty to illegal reentry into the United States. His prior Arizona drug conviction did not qualify as a felony trafficking offense under the 2014 Sentencing Guidelines. Vacated and remanded.
  11. (Supreme Court of California) - Interpreted Proposition 47, a recent initiative measure that makes certain types of forgery misdemeanors if the value of the forged instrument does not exceed $950. Held that the amount written on a forged check establishes its value for this purpose. Resolved a split in the courts of appeal regarding how to determine the value of a forged check.
  12. (California Court of Appeal) - Held that no reasonable suspicion justified a police officers' decision to detain and pat search a man, and that his motion to suppress should have been granted. Reversed his convictions for possession of a dirk or dagger and possession of methamphetamine.
  13. (United States Supreme Court) - Interpreted the meaning of "burglary" in the Armed Career Criminal Act. Held that the statutory term includes burglary of a structure or vehicle that has been adapted or is customarily used for overnight accommodation. The Act requires an enhanced sentence for offenders who have at least three previous convictions for certain violent or drug-related felonies, and specifically includes burglary as one of those prior felonies. Justice Breyer wrote the unanimous opinion.
  14. (United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed a businessperson's conviction and sentence on wire fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from a scheme to defraud manufacturers that issue coupons for consumer products. He had headed one of the nation's largest coupon processing companies.
  15. (United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed a conviction of discharging a firearm during a drug transaction, rejecting the defendant's contention that the warrant authorizing a search of his cell phone was insufficiently precise.