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White Collar Crime
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Criminal Law & Procedure
US v. Bonventre
The district court's order denying defendant's motion for a Monsanto hearing in his civil action (to prevent forfeiture of monies allegedly needed to fund his defense in a companion criminal case) is affirmed, where: 1) a defendant seeking a Monsanto or Monsanto-like hearing must demonstrate, beyond the bare recitation of the claim, that he or she has insufficient alternative assets to fund counsel of choice; and 2) here, the district court gave defendant ample opportunity to demonstrate that he had insufficient unrestrained assets to fund his defense with counsel of choice in his parallel criminal case, and he failed to so demonstrate.
Jones v. Smith
Judgment dismissing plaintiff's civil rights complaint for failure to pay the filing fee after the court denied the plaintiff in forma pauperis status under the three strikes provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, is reversed, where: 1) dismissals of habeas petitions and appeals from habeas petitions cannot constitute strikes under the three strikes provision; and, as such, 2) the district court erred by denying plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis.
US v. Otuya
Defendant's convictions of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, two counts of substantive bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft, and sentence are affirmed, where: 1) the district court did not err in admitting evidence from defendant's backpack that revealed other bad acts; 2) no amount of consent from a co-conspirator can constitute "lawful authority" to engage in the identity theft that defendant engaged in here; and 3) the district court did not err in its application of the sentencing guidelines.
US v. Sanchez-Aguilar
Defendant's conviction for illegal reentry under 8 U.S.C. section 1326 is affirmed where: 1) defendant had already been convicted in 2009, of violating section 1326 based on the same 2006 removal order that formed the predicate for the conviction in this case; 2) because it was undisputed in the district court or on appeal that the defendant left the U.S. after his 2009 conviction, there was no error, much less plain error, in the district court's refusal to vacate the defendant's conviction based on a double jeopardy defense; and 3) defendant's collateral attack on the validity of the 2006 removal order fails, because the failure of the immigration officer who interviewed the defendant at the border to inform him of his ability to request withdrawal of his application of admission did not violate his due process rights.
US v. Smalls
The district court's order granting, only in part, defendant's motion for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. section 3582(c)(2) is affirmed, where: 1) defendant presents no facts to rebut the presumption that the district court considered any relevant factors before it; and thus, 2) the district court's explanation was sufficient.
Lemke v. Ryan
The district court's denial of defendant's habeas corpus petition based on the Double Jeopardy Clause is affirmed, where: 1) after the jury convicted defendant of lesser included offenses of theft and conspiracy to commit theft, but was unable to reach a verdict on the felony murder charge, defendant pleaded guilty in exchange for a concurrent sentence to avoid a retrial on that charge; 2) defendant did not waive his Double Jeopardy claim merely by entering a guilty plea, or in the broad waiver clause of his plea agreement; 3) the prosecution of defendant for armed robbery felony murder after his implied acquittal of armed robbery was a prosecution for the same offense, but was not a "successive" prosecution for Double Jeopardy purposes because original jeopardy had not terminated for the count for which the jury failed to reach a verdict; 4) consequently, the state court's rejection of defendant's claim was neither contrary to nor an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law; and 5) retrial was not barred by the collateral estoppel doctrine.
Henry v. Ryan
The district court's denial of a defendant's habeas corpus petition challenging his conviction and capital sentence for murder, kidnapping, robbery, and theft is affirmed, where: 1) despite a procedural default issue, defendant's Brady claim is denied on the merits because the notes the prosecution withheld were not material to the guilty verdict; 2) defendant was not diligent in securing the facts supporting his claim that photographic evidence produced by the state before trial was altered, and that some photos had been omitted and not produced during discovery; 3) the state's suppression of evidence was not the cause of defendant's failure to comply with state procedural rules so as to excuse the procedural default of this claim; 4) defendant had not established that a detective knowingly provided false testimony that the prosecution knew the testimony would be inaccurate; 5) defendant could not show that the alleged juror misconduct had a substantial and injurious effect on the verdict; and 6) the district court properly denied defendant's claims regarding mitigating evidence and ineffective assistance of counsel.
Lopez-Valenzuela v. County of Maricopa
The district court's summary judgment and partial dismissal of a class action challenging Proposition 100, a ballot measure passed by Arizona voters that amended the state constitution to preclude bail for certain serious felony offenses if the person charged has entered or remained in the United States illegally and if the proof is evident or the presumption great as to the charge, is affirmed, where: 1) the Arizona Legislature and Arizona voters passed Proposition 100 and its implementing statute and rules to further the state's legitimate and compelling interest in seeing that those accused of serious state-law crimes are brought to trial; and 2) plaintiffs had not succeeded in raising triable issues of fact as to whether Proposition 100 and its implementing procedures violate the substantive and procedural due process guarantees of the United States Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment, the Excessive Bail Clause of the Eighth Amendment, and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, nor whether the Proposition 100 laws are preempted by federal immigration law.
US v. Avery
The district court's denial of defendant's habeas corpus motion to vacate his sentence after he pled guilty to wire fraud, money laundering, and criminal forfeiture, is vacated and remanded, where: 1) defendant pled guilty only to honest services fraud and cannot be deemed to have been convicted or sentenced based on a broader charge that was not incorporated into the plea agreement and not acknowledged by defendant as true when he pled guilty; and 2) because the crime to which defendant pled guilty and for which he was incarcerated is no longer a criminal offense, petitionerâ€™s actual innocence overcomes the procedural default of his claim challenging his conviction.
US v. Gonzalez Vasquez
Defendant's conviction and sentence for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine are: 1) affirmed in part, where the record supports the district court's finding that no plea agreement was made, and there is no evidence of any promise upon which the defendant relied to his detriment; and 2) vacated and remanded as to the sentence, where the district court erred in treating defendant's suspended sentence for the prior conviction as a "sentence of probation of more than one year" under U.S.S.G. section 4A1.2(c)(1)(A), because the conditions of the defendant's suspended incarceration did not limit or require any conduct beyond that of a law abiding individual.
People v. Fong
Defendant's sentence of 17 years per his plea agreement, and the trial judge's limit of credit to 15 percent, which translated into awarding defendant 608 days of actual custody credit and 91 days of conduct credit pursuant to Penal Code section 2933.1, is affirmed, where: 1) defendant was convicted of a felony in which he inflicted great bodily injury (GBI) on a non-accomplice, and the GBI enhancement was charged and proved as provided for in Section 12022.7; 2) section 667.5(c)(8)'s incorporation of section 12022.7 was not a time-specific incorporation; and consequently; 3) defendant is subject to section 2933.1's credit limiting provisions.
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