Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
US v. Tapia, No. 09-1426, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for being a felon in possession of a firearm and district court's imposition of a 120 months' enhanced sentence based on its determination that the defendant had used the firearm in connection with another felony. In affirming both the conviction and the sentence, the court held that the manner in which the firearm was discovered was constitutional because the police had ample evidence reasonably to believe that armed gang members may have been in the house. The court rejected defendant's claim that the district court failed to meet its procedural obligations when it did not resolve all contested issues of material fact as without merit. The court also rejected defendant's claim that the district court wrongly sentenced him based on unreliable evidence as without merit.
US v. Perez, 08-2566, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for filing false federal income tax returns and sentenced to 33 months' imprisonment. In affirming, the court held that the district court did not violate defendant's right to be present at trial by conducting a jury instruction conference in his absence because such a conference concerns questions of law which is exempt from Fed. Rule of Crim. Proc. 43. The court also held that the defendant waived any challenge to the district court's failure to provide a jury instruction on the government's net worth and expenditure method of proof, as well as any challenge to the district court's limitation on his expert witness's testimony. Lastly, the court held that the evidence was more than sufficient to support jury finding that defendant willfully filed false income tax returns in violation of section 7206(1).
US v. Paige, No. 09-3060, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a 96-month sentence for four bank robbery convictions, In affirming the sentence, the court held that the district judge discussion of defendant's difficult childhood and previous convictions and other considerations make it clear that the judge gave meaningful consideration to section 3553(a) factors.
US v. Neal, No. 08-3611, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's motion to reduce his sentence of 137 months for his crack cocaine offenses based on Amendment 706. In vacating the sentence and remanding for resentencing, the court held that the district judge's reliance on defendant's prison disciplinary record is outside the scope of the presentence report, and by withholding the information until the day on which the time for appeal expired, the district court disabled defendant from requesting a hearing or presenting any evidence of his own that would call into question the judge's understanding of his record or cast his intra-prison conduct in a better light.
Lastly, US v. Dinga, 09-2956, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer in connection with several firearm purchases. In affirming the conviction, the court first held that there was sufficient evidence to uphold defendant's conviction. Therefore, the court rejected defendant's challenge to an evidentiary ruling excluding his offer to take a polygraph as meritless and held that the district court properly applied the two-level enhancement for obstruction of justice.