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Denial of Social Security Benefits Affirmed, and Criminal Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on July 27, 2010 9:06 AM

Brown v. Astrue, No. 08-3353, involved plaintiff's appeal from the district court's affirmance of an administrative law judge's (ALJ) denial of plaintiff's application for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act.  The court of appeals affirmed on the grounds that 1) the larger medical record did not support plaintiff's expert's conclusory opinion; 2) the ALJ committed no error in giving greater weight to a treating physician's testimony; and 3) substantial evidence on the record as a whole supported the ALJ's conclusion that plaintiff was not disabled.

In US v. Bates, No. 09-2933, the Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's firearm possession sentence, holding that 1) in a previous opinion, the court of appeals made no "finding" on the amount of drugs or the type of drug activity in which defendant was engaged; and 2) the police's testimony established defendant's presence at a house and on a street known for drug trafficking.

In US v. Escobar-Quintanilla, No. 09-2162, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's sentence for conspiring to distribute and distributing methamphetamine and using a communication device to facilitate methamphetamine distribution, holding that 1) at sentencing, the district court explicitly found a drug quantity level of 34, rather than level 36 as urged by the government; and 2) the court did not clearly err in imposing a four level role-in-the-offense increase.

In US v. Horton, No. 09-3032, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's conviction for possession of a firearm as a felon, holding that 1) the district court did not err in finding that police had reasonable, articulable suspicion to justify the initial stop at issue; 2) the district court properly found that police did not exceed the scope of the Terry stop by conducting a protective frisk for weapons; and 3) there was sufficient suspicion to justify the expansion of the investigation.

In US v. Lynch, No. 09-3315, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's sentence upon the revocation of his supervised release, on the grounds that the district court properly held that defendant committed first-degree harassment under Iowa law, which constituted a Grade A violation of supervised release.

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