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US v. Roderrete McClure (5th Cir., 4/25/17): When Does a Plea Agreement in Federal Court Prevent Additional Indictments?

April 28th, 2017
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

Tough, tough lesson here for McClure, and all criminal defense lawyers should be aware of this case.  Here, McClure appeals the denial of his motion to dismiss his indictment for narcotics trafficking, arguing that the Government was barred from pursuing the indictment based on a plea agreement he entered into in an earlier case.  In 2012, McClure pleaded guilty to 18 USC 922(g)(1), Felon in Possession of a Firearm.   Information leading t

US v. Kimberly Hastie (11th Cir., filed 4/25/17) Email addresses are “personal information” under the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act. Judge Jordan disagrees; argues it is a jury issue.

April 26th, 2017
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

File this in the Things Not to do When You Hold a Position of Trust in the Government file. Ms. Hastie was the License Commissioner of Mobile, Alabama. She was responsible for issuing driver's licenses and automobile titles, and she maintained motor vehicle registrations for the citizens of Mobile County.  She also supported a particular candidate for Mayor!  She asked her manager of information technology to send her the emails addresses from

United States v. Philip Swaby, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (filed 4/24/17): Court’s “general” immigration warnings did not cure lawyer’s erroneous advice regarding consequences of guilty plea.

April 24th, 2017
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

A very important case for lawyers representing defendants facing possible deportation as a consequence of criminal convictions.  The facts here are very similar to those SCOTUS addressed in Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010).  Counsel was appointed to represent a client who had lawful permanent resident status.  He was married to a citizen and has two daughters who are citizens.  He also has a step-daughter.  He and his wife w

April 2017 Federal Newsletter

April 20th, 2017
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

April 2017 Fed Newsletter   [caption id="attachment_749" align="alignnone" width="425"]legal-advice-thane-mumbai-apoorva-enterprisesRead More

US v. Kenneth and Kimberly Horner (11th Circuit, filed 4/13/17), Tax Fraud Convictions Affirmed– What NOT to do this Tax Season.

April 19th, 2017
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

At this time of year, as everyone files tax returns, it's good to keep in mind the kinds of conduct that is illegal. Do not do the things that the Horners have been convicted of doing unless you would like to do a stint in your local federal pen. Here, the Horners had a towing and recovery business in an area outside of Atlanta.  They received a fair amount of cash for its services from its clients. Simply, they did not report these cash paymen

Leonard v. Texas, 580 US__ (2017), Statement of J. Thomas respecting cert denial; Isn’t it Awesome when Liberals and Conservatives Can Come Together for Some Collective Outrage?

April 12th, 2017
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

This cert denial involves civil forfeiture, the practice of law enforcement's simply taking the property of suspected criminals and converting that property (or its proceeds) to their own personal use. In this case, it appears that the cert petition raised a due process challenge for the first time in the petition, and without giving the lower court an opportunity to pass on the claim. For that reason, the Court could not take up the case.  But

US v. Diaz (2013 WL 322243) and US v. Hayes, 948 F.Supp.2d 1009 (2013): Two federal district judges disagree with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines policies regarding drug trafficking sentences.

April 10th, 2017
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

These two important opinions offer thoughtful rebukes to the often draconian sentences imposed in federal court on defendants convicted of drug trafficking offenses. First, Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District of New York issued this Memorandum Explaining a Policy Disagreement with the Drug Trafficking Offense Guideline. Judge Gleeson was asked to sentence Ysidro Diaz, who was convicted of attempting to sell a kilogram of heroin to an unde

US v. Donald T. Hill (App. No. 15-4639) (4th Cir., filed 3/30/17): Prolonged Detention of Car Stop; Important Dissent by Judge Davis.

March 31st, 2017
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

This is an interesting case addressing law enforcement's prolonging a roadside detention. The short of it is that law enforcement is not particularly obligated to be efficient during a stop as it conducts its duties. Here, law enforcement was patrolling a neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia. They saw a car that slightly exceeded the posted speed limit, and then that car crossed a solid yellow line. They decided to pull the car over.  Time:  6:01

US v. Keith Arthur Vinson, No. 15-4384 (4th Cir., filed 3/24/17) Misdeeds in the Blue Ridge Mountains

March 27th, 2017
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

This case involves a woeful tale of real estate hijinks in the beautiful mountains outside of Hendersonville, NC.  Vinson was indicted and convicted for a number of fraudulent activities he engaged in during his attempt to develop an Arnold Palmer golf course and resort area called Seven Falls.  This was all a very swank affair, with a Founder’s Day promotion at the Biltmore Estate and ribbon cutting for the “fabulous golf academy.” Unfor

United States v. Juan Elias Lara (4th Cir, 3/14/17): Psychotherapist-Patient Priv and 5th Amendment Protections in Interviews with Supervision Agents

March 17th, 2017
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

This case raises an important issue-- the extent to which statements made to a supervisory government agent (like a probation agent, or as in this case, a sex offender treatment program provider) can remain confidential.  Not good news for the more criminal-defense minded among us. Lara was convicted in Virginia state court for a sex assault.  He was sentenced to 20 years, with 17 years suspended and a term of 20 years of probation (!).  As a

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