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Criminal and Immigration Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on March 02, 2010 6:44 PM

The Fifth Circuit decided two criminal matters and one immigration case.

Wooten v. Thaler, No. 07-70044 was a capital habeas matter involving late-arriving DNA evidence used by the state to strengthen its case.  The court of appeals affirmed the denial of the petition, holding that 1) when the actual physical evidence is in full view, there is no constitutional demand that the prosecution warrant any analyses of that evidence as final -- as the best and last attempts; and 2) there was no loss of effectiveness under the Sixth Amendment as the strength of the state's case grew, just a lessening of the defendant's chance to prevail.

In US v. Williamson, No. 09-10079, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's cocaine possession sentence on the grounds that 1) for a U.S.S.G. section 3E1.1(b) reduction, the government must first determine that defendant assisted authorities by entering a timely guilty plea, the government must file a motion with the court to that effect, and then the court must decide that the defendant meets the section 3E1.1(b) criteria; and 2) the district court kept its considerations to those contained in section 3E1.1(b) -- the efficient use of the government's and the court's resources and the timeliness of the plea.

Orosco v. Napolitano, No. 09-40004, was an action seeking a writ of habeas corpus to compel defendants to issue him a law enforcement certification showing his cooperation with law enforcement under 28 U.S.C. section 2241.  The Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the language of section 1184(p) made it abundantly clear that the decision to issue a law enforcement certification is a discretionary one.

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