2nd Circuit Criminal Law News - U.S. Second Circuit
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Inside traders can breathe a sigh of relief today. The Second Circuit has refused to revisit a ruling which federal prosecutors had said would severely limit their ability to pursue insider trading cases.

Prosecutors had asked the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the case of hedge fund managers Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson. The court had reversed the pair's convictions on insider trading charges last December.

Following the Eric Garner and Michael Brown grand jury non-indictments, many of us wondered why grand juries are still hanging around. The Constitution requires only that the federal government use grand juries to indict criminal suspects, and yet 23 states still require the use of these bodies for serious felonies.

The problem is that grand juries are secretive (intentionally so) and not subject to the same protections as, say, preliminary hearings, like the right to counsel and the right to cross-examine witnesses. One prominent jurist wants to change that.

A peculiar bit of appellate procedure attended the issuance of an amended opinion in Garcia v. Does, the "Occupy Wall Street" case in which Occupy protesters claimed they were escorted onto the Brooklyn Bridge by police, then arrested when they were halfway across.

Though the protesters won in federal district court, and again before a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit, that same panel reversed itself Monday. The panel remanded the case to Judge Jed Rakoff with instructions to dismiss the complaint, dissolving the en banc rehearing before it started.

Back in July, Microsoft lost a battle to protect data stored on Irish email servers, wholly owned and controlled by Microsoft, from the U.S. Justice Department. All we know about these email MacGuffins is that they have something to do with drugs.

Appealing to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Microsoft argues that, because the magnetic particles comprising the data are physically located in Ireland, those particles -- and the data they represent -- are protected by Irish and European privacy laws, meaning Microsoft can't be compelled to turn them over.

2nd Cir. Massively Limits Insider Trading Prosecutions

The Second Circuit called it "doctrinal novelty." Others might have called it made-up law.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, led by Preet Bharara, called it insider trading despite increasingly tenuous connections between the traders and the tipsters, and a complete and utter lack of proof that the traders knew that the tippers benefited from the trades.

In short, it was a crime without a mens rea. The USAO stretched insider trading prosecutions as far as they could possibly go -- until the Second Circuit snapped back.

Ex-Conn. Gov. Convicted Again, Could Face Up to 57 Years in Prison

The year was 2004. Paul Giamatti shined in "Sideways," a dramedy that would win the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Usher's "Yeah!," featuring rapper Ludacris and producer Lil Jon was tearing up the Billboard charts. And Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland was headed to prison after pleading guilty to accepting inappropriate gifts from individuals with contracts with the state.

Ten years later, I finally got around to watching "Sideways." (Dark, depressing, and hilarious.) And the former governor? He's headed back to prison after being convicted of another corrupt political deal -- a campaign finance violation for a losing congressional race. And while last time, Gov. Rowland only served 10 months, this time he faces up to 57 years, reports The New York Times.

2nd Cir. Issues Warning to Prosecutors in Otherwise Obvious Reversal

So, there's these Russians, right? And they had this ... defrauding the government thing. They'd sell medical equipment to the government at ridiculously inflated prices -- home whirlpools that cost about $30 were listed as costing $380 -- and they'd pocket the difference between the real cost and the fake cost, split it amongst co-conspirators, etc.

Hilariously, Vadim Yuzovitskiy and Grigory Groysman had been here before. They ran the same scam previously, Yuzovitskiy got caught, snitched on Groysman, and he snitched on everybody else. They testified that immediately after the case was closed, they opened a new office and went back to business as usual. When the sequel was inevitably discovered, the FBI went with their usual snitches and prosecuted the defendant, Lyubov Groysman, a woman who argues that she was simply a clerk, unaware of any scam or illegal activity.

Legally, that's all we know right now, because her conviction for being one of the main participants was just reversed for obvious, plain, ridiculous error. And the Second Circuit, mindful that not all cases will be this easy in the future, sent a little warning to prosecutors in the circuit.

It's a rare occasion indeed when a federal court upholds a state prisoner's federal habeas corpus claim. The procedural bar to getting relief -- showing that a state court's decision was "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States" -- is quite high.

But Shawn Jackson made it over the hurdle.

In 2000, police arrested Jackson after they received a 911 call from three women at his home -- including his 14-year-old daughter -- alleging that he raped them several times that night. Once arrested, Jackson invoked Miranda and clammed up. Then, Kathy Bonisteel, a Child Protective Services worker, came by to investigate the child abuse charges. Instead of staying silent again, he willingly talked to her, essentially giving the prosecution everything it could have hoped for during the interview.

Two cases closely watched by the tech industry are making progress through the Second Circuit. In the first case, Apple's e-book litigation may be coming to an end with a proposed settlement awaiting court approval, while the criminal case against Ross William Ulbricht, the alleged founder of Silk Road, is moving forward.

And if that's not enough and you want to try your hand at the judiciary -- well there's a job opening for that. Read on for details.

We've been meaning to cover this case for a few weeks now, but with breaking new developments related to the Central Park Five settlement, and the at long last release of the "drone strike" memo, we were distracted. But now, we can now take a look at one of the most important Second Circuit Fourth Amendment cases to be heard this year.

And the court didn't stop there. It also gave district courts some suggestions on dealing with jurors' use of social media and the importance of jury instructions.