Showing 1 - 15 of 29 results
United States v. Rahim, ECF No. 4:03CR45-MLB (N.D. Ga. April 14, 2021)
Motion (July 17, 2020)
Gov Response (Sept. 4, 2020)
Reply (Sept. 29, 2020)
Def’s Notice of Filing Supp Authority (Feb. 15, 2021)
Opinion & Order (Apr. 14, 2021)
Argument: 20-year-old involved in robbery and carjacking which led to a hostage situation and a shootout with police sentenced to 481 months.
There is no doubt that there is a gross disparity between the sentence Rahim received in 2005 and the sentence he would receive today after the passage of the First Step Act. To quantify that more precisely, he faces 18 additional years in prison as a result of the second § 924(c) charge that would not be permissible today. This difference is an extraordinary and compelling reason to provide the relief sought by Rahim.
3553(a) factors also supported relief: young at time of offense; grew up around violence; was working as an EMT; significant rehabilitation in prison.
United States v. Kohler, No. 8:15CR425-CEH (M.D. Fla. Mar. 15, 2022)
Compassionate Release Motion (filed under seal/unavialable)
Gov Response in Opposition (Sept. 7, 2021)
Motion for Leave to File Reply Brief (required in the MDFL)
Reply Brief (Oct. 7, 2021)
Order (Mar. 15, 2022)
Argument: Compassionate release grant for an 64-year-old individual with a host of medical conditions (obesity, pre-diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, an aortic aneurysm, chronic renal stones, an enlarged prostate, depression, likely post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a history of nearly fatal pancreatitis). Defendant argued that the medical conditional was dire because of the BOP’s failure to adequately diagnose, monitor, and treat his illness. This decision has good language about BOP’s failure to provide adequate medical care as the basis for finding extraordinary and compelling reasons for release. Importantly, this case came out of the MDFL, which can only argue extraordinary and compelling reasons as defined in the commentary to § 1B1.13. The court also held a hearing on this case via zoom in February 2022.
U.S. v. Bryant 19-14267 (11th Cir. May 7, 2021)
Opinion from the Eleventh Circuit
Argument: Eleventh Circuit Creates Circuit Split on Compassionate Release Criteria: In a lengthy opinion, the Eleventh Circuit split from seven sister circuits to hold that Sentencing Commission Policy Statement 1B1.13 remains applicable for a Section 3582(c)(1)(A) motion, "no matter who files it." In other words, in the Eleventh Circuit, district courts are now constrained by the restrictive definitions of “extraordinary and compelling reasons” listed in the commentary of § 1B1.13.
United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al. (Haiti Teleco)
Case materials from the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prosecution of Joel Esquenazi, United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al., No. 09-21010-CR-JEM.
Argument: In 2011, Joel Esquenazi, former president of Terra Telecommunications Corp., a Florida-based telecom, and his colleagues were convicted for their involvement in a scheme to bribe officials of Haiti’s state-owned telecom company. After a jury trial, they were found guilty of seven counts of violating the FCPA, 12 counts of money laundering, one count of money laundering conspiracy, and one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and wire fraud. Esquenazi received a sentence of 15 years imprisonment, the longest sentence ever to be given under the FCPA.
Esquenazi filed an appeal in the 11th Circuit, challenging the government’s interpretation of who counts as a “foreign official” under the FCPA. Specifically, he argued that, when enacting the FCPA, Congress intended the phrase “foreign official” to include only traditional government officials, not employees of state-owned enterprises. The 11th Circuit held oral argument in October 2013 and issued an opinion affirming the convictions on May 16, 2014.
Esquenazi filed a petition for writ of certiorari on August 14, 2014. Professor Michael Koehler filed an amicus brief in support of the petition, as did the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF amicus). On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for writ of certiorari.
For a highly detailed timeline of the proceedings in this case, visit FCPAProfessor.com.
"Supreme Court declines hearing key FCPA case Esquenazi," Inside Counsel, October 7, 2014.
"Esquenazi and Rodriguez file petition for Supreme Court review," The FCPA Blog, August 15, 2014.
Appeals Court Clarifies Who Counts as a Foreign Official under the FCPA," The Wall Street Journal Law Blog, May 16, 2014.
"11th Circuit Affirms Esquenazi/Rodriguez Convictions - Defines 'Instrumentality'," FCPA Professor, May 16, 2014. [Opinion]
"Appeals Judges Probe for Definition of 'Instrumentality' in Key FCPA Case," The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2013.
"FCPA 'Foreign Official' Question Reaches Appellate Spotlight in Esquenazi Case," The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2013.
"'Foreign Official' Challenge Reaches 11th Circuit," The Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2012.
"Haiti Teleco Roundup," FCPA Professor Blog, March 22, 2012.
"Stunning Haiti Teleco Development," FCPA Professor Blog, August 29, 2011.
"Government's Vigorous Prosecution of FCPA Violators Continues When Jury Convicts Two Telecommunications Executives for Violations Relating to Haiti," Federal Securities Law Blog, August 8, 2011 [Additional coverage].
United States v. B.G.G.
Brief for Amici Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Cato Institute in Support of Appellee and Urging Affirmance.
Argument: Statutes of limitations must be interpreted in favor of repose. Statutes must be interpreted to avoid absurd results. The government's proposed interpretation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 3282 and 3288-- under which it obtains a six-month extension of the statute of limitations by filing a defective information the day before the statute runs and moving to dismiss it the day after--flouts the Toussieprinciple. That interpretation also violates the rule that courts will not interpret statutes in a way that produces an absurd result. The Seventh Circuit case on which the government principally relies--United States v. Burdix-Dana, 149 F.3d 741 (7th Cir. 1998)--overlooks both these principles and is poorly reasoned in other respects as well. The government seeks to obtain through a tortured interpretation of §§ 3282 and 3288 an outcome that Congress refused to enact when the Department of Justice proposed it as legislation last year, at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. The district court correctly rejected the government's approach. This Court should affirm.
United States v. Bryant
Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Appellant Thomas Bryant, Jr., Supporting Reversal.
Argument: Sentencing courts have broad discretion to modify a sentence under Section 3582(c)(1)(A)(i). Sentencing courts have authority to grant motions for compassionate release if the defendant does not meet one of the "extraordinary and compelling reasons" described by the Commission. Vesting sentencing courts with discretion to identify "extraordinary and compelling reasons" is consistent with the judge's role at an initial sentencing and does not open any "floodgates." The District Court's order should be reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.
United States v. Thomas Spellissy, et al.
Spellissy was convicted on five counts, including one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, wire fraud and honest-services fraud. Of the other counts, the District Court either granted a post-trial motion for judgment of acquitted (bribery) or motion for a new trial (substantive wire fraud offenses). Spellissy exhausted his direct appellate rights, as well as, the collateral remedies provided by 28 U.S.C. §2255. He also completed his supervised release and is not currently serving any portion of his sentence.
Argument: In light of the Skilling decision, Spellissy petitioned for a writ of error coram nobis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), the All Writs Act, on this remaining conspiracy count. On December 29, 2010, the Court denied Spellissy's petition. Spellissy is appealing the denial to the 11th Circuit.
On August 16, 2011, the 11th Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision to deny Spellissy's petition for a writ of error coram nobis pursuant to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. 1651(a). The court determined that Spellissy's conviction was not based on the "conflict of interest" or "self-dealing" theories of honest services fraud since the jury was instructed on both bribery and wire fraud. Also, even if an error occurred, it was harmless and didn't have a "substantial and injurious effect" on the jury's verdict.
On March 22, 2013, the 11th Circuit affirmed the decision from the Middle District of Florida that the court did not err when it denied Spellissy's petition for writ of error coram nobis. Spellissy failed to demonstrate that the district court abused its discretion.
Siegelman v. United States
The U.S. Supreme Court granted petition for writ of certiorari, vacated the judgment, and remanded to the 11th Circuit for consideration in light of Skilling. The 11th Circuit heard argument from the parties on the merits on January 19, 2011. On May 17, 2011, the 11th Circuit affirmed Siegelman's conviction.
Argument: Siegelman petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a Writ of Certiorari. On June 4, 2012, despite three amicus briefs in support of his petition, including one from over 100 former Attorneys General, the Court denied his petition. On August 3, 2012, Siegelman was sentenced to more than six years in prison, a $50,000 fine and 500 hours of community service.
In December 2014, a federal judge refused to release Siegelman, whose lawyers contended that he be released while a federal appeals court considers his case again. Siegelman's lawyers have stated that they intend to renew their request for his release in early 2015.
Scrushy v. United States
The U.S. Supreme Court granted Scrushy's Petition for Writ of Certiorari, vacated the judgment, and remanded to the 11th Circuit for consideration in light of Skilling. On August 31, 2010, the 11th Circuit denied Scrushy’s motion for release pending appellate resolution on remand. On January 19, 2011 the 11th Circuit heard argument from the parties on the merits.
Argument: On May 17, 2011, the 11th Circuit vacated the two honest services fraud counts and affirmed the four remaining counts on bribery and conspiracy. On January 24, 2012, Scrushy's motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence was denied by the Middle District of Alabama. Scrushy petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a Writ of Certiorari and the Court denied his petition on June 4, 2012. In April 2012, he was moved to a halfway house and then to home confinement in preparation for his release from federal custody on July 25, 2012.
United States v. Vicki Lopez-Lukis
Lopez-Lukis, a former County Commissioner, was convicted in 1997 of a single count of honest services fraud. She is no longer in custody, having been released from prison in 2000. She was released early under a Grant of Clemency from President William J. Clinton. The sole count of the conviction was based upon lies Mrs. Lukis told to the press and the public regarding an illicit love affair she was then having with Mr. Lukis, who was at the time a lobbyist with interests before the County Commission and married to another woman.
Argument: In light of the Skilling decision, on January 31, 3011, Lopez-Lukis petitioned for a writ of error coram nobis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), the All Writs Act, on this one count conviction. The Government did not object to the petition. On February 14, 2010, the Court granted Lopez-Lukis' petition and vacated her conviction.
United States v. Esformes
Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Appellant.
Argument: Harmless error is an inadequate standard for review in cases of pervasive and far-reaching prosecutorial misconduct. The present case included an invasion and use of an accused’s attorney-client privileged conversations and attorney work product privileged documents. Because of the toxic effect on the proceedings, alleged prosecutorial misconduct cannot be adequately measured by the evidence against the accused in harmless error analysis. Rather, when prosecutorial misconduct is obviously illegal or forms a pattern of unlawful behavior it so offends the Due Process clause that the court should treat it as a structural error. Amici assert the prosecutorial misconduct in the present case is analogous to the “interested prosecutor” a recognized structural error. Amici argue the Court should treat the present prosecutorial misconduct as a structural error and dismiss the case. Such a result serves both the interests of the defendant in a fair proceeding and the public in seeing justice done.
United States v. Hope
Order granting compassionate release: mandatory life sentence for drug case; previously denied compassionate release; CR grant because Hope would not be mandatory life eligible today in light of the First Step Act's changes to 21 USC § 851; "It should be noted that since briefing in this matter took place, COVID-19 has dramatically altered the context in which courts are considering compassionate release requests."