7th Circuit Criminal Law News - U.S. Seventh Circuit
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Recent Criminal Law Decisions

The Supreme Court has held that the Sixth Amendment's right to a public trial extends to the voir dire process. But that right doesn't require a new trial for two Wisconsinites who were convicted after their judge barred the public from voir dire, the Seventh Circuit ruled last week.

Why? Lack of objection from the defense attorneys. In a brief opinion penned by Judge Richard Posner, the Seventh ruled that those attorneys "forfeited their clients' right to an audience by failing to object to the judge's ruling excluding the audience in whole or part."

$77.8 Million RICO Award Gets Two-Thirds Reduction

The Seventh Circuit has concluded that RICO does not apply to the 2014 conviction of disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich because there was "no specific threat" of a scheme existing at the time.

The result is that the $77.8 million that had been awarded to a casino group would get the haircut of the century: a reduction to $25 million.

Jared Fogle's Pitch for Mercy Fails at the 7th Circuit

Last month Jared Fogle attempted to convince the court that his 188-month sentence had been unjustifiably enhanced and should be reduced. The case made headlines in particular because of the controversial theory his lawyer pushed: fantasizing about having sex with minors is not a crime.

Now, the Seventh Circuit has affirmed the district court's ruling, effectively closing the door to further calls for mercy unless an appeal to SCOTUS is made.

7th Circuit Employs Rarely Used FRE 807 Residual Hearsay Rule

The always insightful Seventh Circuit employed the rarely used Federal Rule of Evidence 807 "residual hearsay" rule recently to allow phone evidence connecting a man to the illegal sale of a gun used in a shootout with Indiana police.

The analysis, in our view, could have gone either way -- especially when looking at the authoring judge's language.

Jared Fogle's Latest Pitch: A Plea for a Shorter Sentence

Jared Fogle, the disgraced former Subway pitchman, is attempting to reduce his sentence by pushing an argument that's sure to cause a stir: sex fantasies with minors cannot support an enhanced sentence.

It's an argument that some legal analysts regard with some skepticism, particular when seen in context of the rest of Fogle's conduct, some of which famously includes traveling specifically to engage in sex with an underage girl. Whichever way this turns out, this case will not simply fizzle away.

Can Cops Use iTranslate to Get Consent to Search? Si...

How accurate must a broken translation be in order for actual consent to be granted for a vehicle search? This question was the very center of a recent ruling by the Seventh Circuit which decided that the iPhone's iTranslate app can be used to obtain consent in lieu of warrant for an automobile search.

It does raise a very interesting question, though. What are the limitations on broken speech and consent and what implications will they have on broader civil rights?

7th Circuit Affirms Combined Convictions Against Child Abuser

A divided Seventh Circuit affirmed both child abuse and felony gun use convictions against admitted abuser David Resnick in a split decision that implicates the admissibility of polygraph information -- or rather, evidence of the defendant's refusal to submit to a polygraph.

But although the affirmation may strike many as being the proper outcome, the Fifth Amendment implications the opinion raises should really give even the most casual reader pause.

Witnesses at Sentencing Weren't a Breach of Gov't Plea Deal

The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled recently that the government did not breach the terms of a plea agreement that it entered into with a defendant whom it had indicted on several counts of fraud. Those terms, the defendant argued, limited the number of victims allowed to testify at sentencing.

The Fourth Circuit, however, disagreed. Whatever plea agreement the defendant had entered into with the government, it could not have been meant to limit the number of victims used against the defendant.

Chicago Drug Conspiracy Case Confirmed by 7th Circuit

The Seventh Circuit just affirmed a lower district court decision that could inflame the passions of many civil rights groups. The issue: Can criminal convictions stand against defendants if another criminal conviction on which the other convictions depended was dismissed?

To most people, the reasonable answer is no. But the Seventh Circuit turned to past presidential case law and said, "Yes, that sounds about right."

Hi-Frequency Trader's Conviction Overturned by the 7th Circuit

An analyst who stole computer information related to the writing of algorithms used in High Frequency Trading ("HFT") caught the sympathetic ear of the Seventh Circuit which overturned three year prison sentence ordered by the lower court. The case has been remanded back to the trial court for a new sentence.

The Seventh Circuit Court determined that although definite crimes took place, there was a disconnect between the claimed intended damage of $12.7 million as the plaintiff company claimed; and his actual intent.