Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence found in the search of his vehicle. The court held that the rapidly blinking turn signal provided reasonable suspicion to stop the car where state law required turn signals to be in good working condition. However, under Rodriguez v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 1609 (2015), the patrolman did unlawfully prolong the stop. The court held that the patrolman's actions were nonetheless permitted under binding case law at the time and thus the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule applied in this case. View "United States v. Campbell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's authorized successive 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. The court held that, given the holding in Ovalles v. United States, 905 F.3d 1231 (11th Cir. 2018) (en banc), that 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(3)(B)'s residual clause is not unconstitutionally vague, a Johnson- or Dimaya-based vagueness challenge to section 924(c)'s residual clause cannot satisfy section 2255(h)(2)'s "new rule of constitutional law" requirement. Likewise, the court held that any challenge petitioner might raise to the district court's use of the categorical approach and its application of section 924(c)(3)(B)'s residual clause in his case would not satisfy section 2255(h) either, as such a claim would be statutory in nature. View "Solomon v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eleventh Circuit granted a petition requesting panel rehearing, vacated its earlier opinion, and issued this opinion in its place. The court affirmed the district court's denial of a petition for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254. The court affirmed and held that petitioner failed to show that had his trial counsel used all of the impeachment material during the guilt phase of his trial, every fairminded jurist would conclude that there was a "substantial, not just conceivable," likelihood that the result of his trial would have been different. Therefore, the state trial court's prejudice determination was not unreasonable. The court also held that, even considering any purported cumulative effect from the admission of the food stamps and cocaine citation and trial counsel's failure to present the impeachment evidence, a fairminded jurist could still conclude that it was insufficient to undermine his confidence in petitioner's trial. View "Meders v. Warden, Georgia Diagnostic Prison" on Justia Law

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Fla. Stat. 893.13(6)(a), cocaine possession, is divisible by the identity of the drug possessed, permitting the use of the modified categorical approach to determine what substance was involved in a particular offense. The Eleventh Circuit denied the petition for review, holding that the record unambiguously demonstrated that petitioner's conviction involved cocaine, a federally controlled substance under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(B)(i). View "Guillen v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that the district court did not abuse its considerable discretion under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), in admitting expert testimony concerning DNA evidence directly linking defendant to the firearm. Even if the district court had abused its discretion in allowing the expert testimony, any claimed error would have been harmless. View "United States v. Barton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Petitioner, a native and citizen of Colombia, petitioned for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's order of removal. The court held that substantial evidence supported the BIA's factual finding regarding petitioner's statute of conviction and the court lacked jurisdiction under Immigration and Nationality Act section 242 to grant him relief. Therefore, the court dismissed the petition for review in part. In regard to petitioner's remaining claims, the court held that DHS was not required to file a cross-appeal to advance its controlled substance argument on appeal to the BIA, and the BIA did not err in considering that argument. Furthermore, petitioner's drug-trafficking crime was an aggravated felony, the BIA did not err in denying petitioner's motion for remand to pursue a section 212(h) waiver, and the court denied petitioner's request for a remand to seek such relief. View "Bula Lopez v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiffs, two death row inmates, served the GDC with a subpoena directing it to testify at a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition and to produce documents concerning Georgia's lethal injection protocol. Plaintiffs planned to use the testimony and documents to support their pending 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims challenging the legality of Mississippi's lethal injection protocol. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of plaintiffs' motion to quash. The court held that the district court applied the correct standard of review to the magistrate judge's ruling on the motion to quash under the "clearly erroneous" or "contrary to law" standard. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by accepting and adopting the magistrate judge's ruling and granting the GDC's motion to quash. View "Jordan v. Georgia Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eleventh Circuit sua sponte vacated its prior opinion and substituted the following opinion. On direct appeal, defendant challenged his two firearm convictions, claiming that his predicate Hobbs Act robbery and attempted robbery offenses did not constitute crimes of violence under 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(3). The court expressly readopted and reinstated in full Sections I, II, III(A), and III(C) of its panel opinion in St. Hubert I just as previously written. The court again reaffirmed the residual clause in Section III(B), but did so on the basis of its en banc decision in Ovalles v. United States, 905 F.3d 1231 (11th Cir. Oct. 4, 2018). Finally, the panel readopted and reinstated Section IV of its prior panel opinion with some additional analysis. The court held that defendant's guilty plea did not waive his particular claims that Counts 8 and 12 failed to charge an offense at all; sections 924(c)(3)(B)'s risk-of-force clause was constitutional under Ovalles, and defendant's predicate Hobbs Act robbery and attempted Hobbs Act robbery qualified as crimes of violence under section 924(c)(3)(B)'s risk-of-force clause; and, as an independent, alternative ground for affirming defendant's convictions and sentences on Counts 8 and 12, the court concluded that defendant's predicate offenses of Hobbs Act robbery and attempted Hobbs Act robbery categorically qualified as crimes of violence under section 924(c)(3)(A)'s elements clause. View "United States v. St. Hubert" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eleventh Circuit dismissed in part and denied in part petitioner's thirteenth application for leave to file a second or successive motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his federal sentence. The court held that 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(3)(B) is not unconstitutionally vague because it requires a conduct-based approach instead of a categorical approach. The court noted that it has specifically explained, and at length, that this feature of section 924(c)(3)(B) allows it to withstand the reasoning that led the Supreme Court to hold in Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), and Sessions v. Dimaya, 138 S. Ct. 1204 (2018), that similarly worded residual clauses in other federal statutes are unconstitutionally vague. View "In re: Tracy Garrett" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a federal habeas corpus petition because it was time-barred. The court held that the district court did not err by concluding that the statute of limitations began to run when the deadline expired for petitioner to file a certiorari petition in the Georgia Supreme Court, rather than ninety days after the date the Georgia Supreme Court dismissed petitioner's certiorari petition as time-barred. In this case, petitioner's conviction became final for purposes of the Antiterrorism and Death Penalty Act's statute of limitations provision on September 5, 2006. View "Phillips v. Warden" on Justia Law