U.S. First Circuit - The FindLaw 1st Circuit Court of Appeals News and Information Blog

September 2017 Archives

The appeal of Douglas Blodgett over the 10-year sentence he received as a result of his guilty plea to criminal charges for accessing child pornography with the intent to view it has been shot down with more explanation than anyone likely expected.

Blodgett was convicted in 2016 after a DHS investigation discovered that he had downloaded and viewed child pornography. However, due to a prior conviction for molesting a 13 year old in 1997, he was subject to the mandatory minimum sentence under the PROTECT Act, which was passed in 2003. The PROTECT Act was designed to penalize participants in the child pornography distribution chain at all levels, from producer to consumer, as well as enhance the penalties for repeat offenders.

The two Boston teamsters, Joseph Burhoe and John Perry, who were convicted in 2014 on federal union extortion charges have had their convictions reversed and cases remanded by the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The 75-page opinion provides an interesting glance into the nuanced complexity surrounding the issue of union extortion.

In short, the two teamsters were found guilty of extortion after a trial where it was proved that they threatened to picket businesses unless those businesses hired union workers. However, on appeal, a bad jury instruction proved terminal to the federal government's case, though it may not actually be over for the pair of union advocates, as other counts were affirmed.

Can a General Creditor Recoup Funds in Asset Forfeiture?

Two things are certain: death and taxes. Government claims are a close third.

That's a one-sentence summary of United States of America v. Catala, decided by the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court said, as between the government and a general creditor, the government has priority to assets forfeited in a criminal case.

Forfeiture laws are designed to separate a criminal from ill-gotten gains, the appeals panel said. It would carve a "gaping hole into the forfeiture framework" to allow a general creditor to collect from those assets.