The Sixth Circuit decided two criminal cases today, involving convictions for OxyContin-related crimes, and aiding and abetting money laundering.
In US v. Wallace, No. 07-2230, the court faced a challenge to a conviction for perjury, conspiracy to possess and distribute OxyContin and sentence of 78 months' imprisonment. Followng a mistrial, the defendant was retried where the drug and perjury charges, stemming from the first trial, were tried together.
In affirming the conviction, the court rejected defendant's argument that district court erred in trying the two charges together as she waived her right to separate trials and suffered no constitutional harm. Additionally, the court rejected defendant's claim that the district court erred in denying her Rule 29 motion for acquittal on the perjury count, as there was sufficient evidence to support that her statement in the first trial was false and material.
However, the court vacated and remanded the case for resentencing in concluding that the sentence is procedurally unreasonable as the district court failed to comply with section 3553(c), which affected defendant's substantial rights.
In US v. Bronzino, No. 08-1532, the court faced a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support defendant's conviction for aiding and abetting money laundering.
As stated in the decision: "To prove aiding and abetting, the government was required to establish two elements: (1) an act by Bronzino that contributed to the commission of the crime; and (2) the intent to aid in the commission of the crime.
Here, the court found that defendant's involvement in and contribution to the unlawful activity was that of a "teacher" or "director," and acted as a catalyst behind the principal's structuring of the transaction to avoid the currency transaction reporting requirement. Additionally, the intent element is established under 18 U.S.C. section 1956 as there is no dispute that defendant knew the casino chips that were in the principal's hands were proceeds of unlawful gambling.