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Child Porn Mandatory Minimums: Think Before You Plead

Want to help your client turn a possible five-year sentence into twenty? You can do it in two easy steps. First, forget about federal sentencing enhancements. Second, let him plead guilty without an agreed-upon sentence.

For an excellent demonstration, take a look at this case

Many high profile cases are making their way through the Southern District of New York, and to the Second Circuit. Today, we'll give you the latest on Apple's e-books suit, Chinese search engine Baidu's free speech, Rajat Gupta's failed appeal and JPMorgan's win.

Apple e-books Class Action Certified

Apple was dealt another blow last week when U.S. District Judge Denise Cote granted plaintiffs' motion for class certification. The consumers are suing Apple for "conspiring with five major publishers to fix e-book prices in violation of antitrust law," reports Reuters. Last year, Judge Cote found Apple liable in an antitrust action brought by the Department of Justice based on the same conduct. Today, 33 states have brought actions against Apple, and class actions have been filed in the remaining states, reports Reuters.

As always, there's lots to catch up on in the Second Circuit. So, let's cut the small talk and get to it.

Ecuadorian Judgment Against Chevron Fraudulent

Earlier this month, a district judge for the Southern District of New York penned a 497-page ruling finding that Steven Donziger violated a laundry list of laws to obtain an Ecuadorian court's judgment against Chevron, said the company in a press release. Donziger has voiced his intentions to appeal, and called the district court's ruling "an appalling decision resulting from a deeply flawed proceeding that overturns a unanimous ruling by Ecuador's Supreme Court," reports The Wall Street Journal.

Richard Guertin was Corporation Counsel for the City of Middletown, New York (presumably centrally located), in 2004. From 1997 to 2004, Middletown received federal funds from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to "promote the 'development of viable urban communities.'"

As a result of eight questionable loans, Guertin, along with Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano and Middletown Community Development Director Neil Novesky, were indicted on charges that the three conspired in an illegal scheme to benefit from loans stemming from federal funds.

The Roman Catholic Church has been embroiled in controversies surrounding allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of priests for years. In a recent Second Circuit opinion, the Arch Diocese of Albany won a small victory, though on purely procedural grounds, reports the Times Union.

The Claim

Michael Shovah initiated an action in Vermont federal court, against the Arch Diocese of Albany, and a former priest, alleging that he was transported from New York to Vermont and was sexually abused. Under the New York statute of limitation, he would have had to file his claim by 2008, yet he did not do so until 2011. However, his claim was timely under the Vermont statute of limitations, hence the choice of venue.

Just when you thought it was over. Last week we posted that new New York City Mayor de Blasio dropped the stop and frisk appeal, as he had promised in his mayoral campaign. If you thought that would be the end of the saga surrounding the former New York City Mayor Bloomberg's administration's stop and frisk policy, then you thought wrong.

Last Friday, five police association's filed two memoranda of law in opposition to the City's motion for remand with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, reports The Associated Press. So what does it all mean for stop and frisk?

One of the most controversial cases of the last year in New York City has been the litigation surrounding the former Bloomberg Administration's stop and frisk policy. As the case progressed through the appeals process, it became clear that the outcome would be dependent on politics, and not the judicial system. As of last week, there may be a political end in sight.

There have also been developments surrounding the heartbreaking school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Read on as we take a look at the new legal outcomes.

Not quite sure why we still get surprised, but sometimes we read about things people do to each other and it really boggles the mind. Just how exactly does a person come up with the idea to spray a combination of feces, vinegar and some type of machine oil on another person?

We have no clue how such an awful idea comes to fruition, but we do know that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals considers it cruel and unusual punishment. In an appeal heard late December, the court vacated a district court's decision that came to the opposite conclusion.

We know it's not OK to play favorites, but we're not going to lie: the Second Circuit is one of our (or specifically, my) favorite circuits to cover. And how could it not be? With New York City in its jurisdiction, it would be hard not to have interesting cases coming out of the Second Circuit.

So, as we leap into the new year, let's take a moment to look back on the legal highlights of the Second Circuit in 2013:

In a case that will undoubtedly have an effect nationwide, the Second Circuit ruled on Friday that the government's warrantless GPS search of three defendants fell within the good faith exception to the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule.

Cases like this one are making their way through the courts all over the country as defendants contest the use of GPS tracking devices, without a warrant, after the Supreme Court's recent holding in United States v. Jones.

Here, three defendants moved to suppress evidence collected from the use of a GPS device, which was used without a search warrant. The district court denied the motion, defendants were convicted, and this appeal followed.