Tuesday, November 01, 2011

U.S. v. Marrufo, 2011 WL 4925883 (10/16/11) (N.M.) (Published) - The 10th holds that the defendant's possession of a firearm "facilitated" the felony offense of tampering with evidence when the defendant hid that very same firearm to avoid detection of his crime of possessing the firearm. The defendant's hiding of the firearm was made easier by his possession of the firearm. So therefore he possessed a firearm in connection with another felony offense, resulting in a four level enhancement under § 2K2.1(b)(6). The defendant's firearm possession was not an accident or coincidence. There was no requirement that the felony offense be a separate, active offense and, even if there were, the tampering was a separate offense. It didn't matter that the defendant did not intend to facilitate a separate crime. § 2K2.1(b)(6) has no intent requirement.

U.S. v. Chavez, 2011 WL 4925884 (10/18/11) (N.M.) (Published) - The officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant driving a Cadillac in a Wal-Mart parking lot where an anonymous caller told dispatchers he was a Wal-Mart employee at a specific Wal-Mart store and he saw a "disturbance" involving a Cadillac and a pickup and the driver of the Cadillac was "potentially intoxicated." When an officer came to the parking lot, someone pointed to the Cadillac and pickup. The tip was reliable enough because the tipster did provide enough information to learn his identity, he witnessed the events and gave a detailed description and an explanation for why he was calling and the officer verified some of the information when he saw the described vehicles in the lot. The 20-minute stop was not too long because after 9 minutes the officer had probable cause to arrest the defendant, even though the officer didn't execute an arrest at that time. There was probable cause that the defendant was guilty of DWI because his eyes were bloodshot and watery, an alcohol odor "emanated" from the defendant, the defendant admitted having a couple of beers and the officer was certain the defendant was intoxicated after giving the defendant sobriety tests. The § 4B1.2 commentary which says attempts of controlled substance offenses are "controlled substance offenses" was a proper exercise of the Sentencing Commission's broad authority under 28 U.S.C. § 994(a), even if the requirement of close-to-maximum sentences for career offenders under § 994(h) did not cover attempts.

U.S. v. McGuire, 2011 WL 4925781 (10/18/11) (Okl.) (unpub'd) - The d. ct. did not abuse its discretion when it upwardly varied from 327 months to 500 months for a kidnapping, based on the facts that the defendant sexually assaulted a 10-year-old 3 times during the kidnapping. This was okay even though the guidelines provided for sexual-exploitation and minor-victim enhancements. The 10th expressed reluctance to "recalibrate" review depending on a sentencing court's lack of experience with respect to a particular offense. The 10th determined the defendant had not shown what was the typical kidnapping case that received the average kidnapping sentence. The 10th also found unconvincing letters from supporters who held the defendant in high esteem at the same time that he was kidnapping. The letters did not show the defendant had reformed but rather that he led a double life.

U.S. v. Mata-Rodriguez, 2011 WL 5009858 (10/21/11) (Kan.) (unpub'd) - To be guilty of maintaining a residence for the purpose of drug distribution it is not necessary that drug distribution be the sole purpose for the residence. It need only be one of the primary purposes. There was sufficient evidence the defendant possessed the methamphetamine that was found in the police car he was transported in. That no drugs were found during a pat-down and the initial search of the car could be attributed to "sloppy" police work.

U.S. v. Dozal, 2011 WL 4959207 (10/19/11) (Kan.) (unpub'd) - A plea-agreement waiver of the right to collaterally attack the judgment includes a waiver of a claim that counsel was ineffective because counsel failed to file a motion to suppress before deciding to advise accepting the plea agreement.

KC v. Holder, 2011 WL 4925859 (10/18/11) (unpub'd) - The BIA abused its discretion when it found the Maoists in Nepal extorted her for financial gain, rather than for political reasons, despite the Immigration Judge crediting her explanation that the Maoists extorted her because she belonged to the Congress Party.

Cordova-Soto v. Holder, 2011 WL 4908351 (10/17/11) (unpub'd) - The alien's prior order of removal may be reinstated under 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(5), which allows such a procedure where an alien has "reeentered the U.S. illegally" after being removed, even though the alien reentered in a procedurally regular way. The alien was stopped at the border and was asked for her ID. She pretended to look for it and the inspector dealt with the other car passengers and then waved the car through. This reentry was illegal under § 1326(a) and therefore "illegal" under § 1231(a)(5).

Flores v. U.S. A.G., 2011 WL 4908363 (10/17/11) (Colo.) (unpub'd) - The 10th dismisses some alarming allegations. In this case, white federal employees were alleged to have used advanced technology from an outer space satellite to detect the genetic code of Mexican-Americans in El Paso and caused them severe pain and organ failure.