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Appeals Court Upholds Restaurant Owner's Arson Conviction

Back when it first opened, Snow's Clam Box was a popular place to eat.

Visitors liked the food, the location, and the service. That was before the restaurant caught fire.

In United States v. Saad, it turned out the owner torched the place for the insurance money. He appealed his arson conviction, but by then his goose was cooked.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals clearly cares about deadlines. Just ask Samuel Dixon, who just lost his sentencing appeal because his motion was filed one day too late.

In Dixon's recent sentencing appeal, despite the fact that the district court didn't even bother to address the timeliness question when dismissing the appellant's motion to vacate his sentence, that's all the First Circuit even looked at. The court explained that even giving the appellant the longest available statute of limitations, he missed it by one day.

In a case that is almost too difficult to describe without breaking the blogging boundaries of decency, a doctor's criminal convictions for tax evasion, distributing drugs, and fraud have been upheld by the First Circuit.

The case of Dr. Joel Sabaen, convicted back in 2016, is a curious one. The criminal convictions all stem from conduct he engaged in with his adult daughter. The tax evasion related to over $2 million he gave her over a five year period of time. The drug charges stem from the bogus narcotics prescriptions he wrote for her. And while this may not seem so wild, the reasons why he filed an appeal certainly highlight the most degenerate aspects of his case.

Drug Dealer Loses 'Softball-Sized' Appeal

Over-confidence was one of Todd Rasberry's problems; another was drug-dealing.

When police patted him down during a search for drugs, Rasberry said the softball-sized object they felt in his groin area was "part of his anatomy."

It turned out to be a big ball of drugs in United States of America v. Rasberry.

Circuit Court Upholds Convictions for Defrauding Government

David E. Gorski had a good business plan: get government contracts for a construction company owned and operated by disabled veterans.

It worked like a charm, quickly bringing in more than $110 million under a government program. There's was only one problem: disabled veterans didn't actually own and control the company.

For defrauding the government, Gorski received 30 months in prison and a $6.7 million forfeiture order. In United States of America v. Gorski, he said he relied on his lawyers and accountants. The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals said that was no excuse.

Fake Prescriptions Case Goes Back to Trial Court

Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson is different, and it has nothing to do with the spelling of her name.

It has to do with her words and how she crafts an opinion. Any judge who can introduce a standard of review with a "quick heads up," knows how to catch a reader's attention.

At least that's how Thompson explained the decision of the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals in United States of America v. Stepanets. As it turned out, the defendants needed the warning.

Missed Deadline Kills School Shooting Case

Seventeen-year-old Patrick Skrabec made a terrible joke, telling his Attelboro classmates "he would like to shoot up the school."

Because of the Sandy Hook shooting days earlier, that joke put Skrabec in jail -- until he was released and found not guilty of threatening to commit a crime. He and his family then sued for false arrest and other claims.

A judge threw out his case, largely because his lawyer made a terrible mistake. He failed to oppose a motion for summary judgment.

Bath Salts Conviction Upheld by First Circuit

Alan Ketchen came to the party a little too late.

Not the drug fest at his house; that party was going on all the time. It was his motion to withdraw a guilty plea; that was too late.

Ketchen wanted a do-over because -- after he pleaded guilty to drug charges -- a new case said prosecutors had to prove criminal defendants know the drugs they are dealing are controlled substances or "substantially similar" drugs. But in United States of America v. Ketchen, the dealer missed his chance.

Murder-for-Hire Failed Twice

Andrew Gordon wanted a hit man to kill his wife.

Only problem was, he confided in someone who tipped off police and the would-be "hit man" turned out to be an undercover officer. So Gordon sought another hit man to kill the undercover officer and the tipster.

But you just can't get good help these days, and the second potential conspirator squealed on him. Gordon got 20 years in prison.

Captain's Appeal Goes Down With Cocaine Shipment

If you're going to smuggle drugs, be sure to obey all traffic laws.

We're talking transportation regulations, like boating laws that say a ship's captain must turn on navigation lights at night. That's what brought down a captain on the waters between Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

That, and the bricks of cocaine he left on deck. Police saw the drugs and arrested him and his crew for breaking other trafficking laws.