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Showing posts from March, 2006

Reasonableness of sentence

In US v. Giaquinto (# 05-2212, 3/23/06), the Court applies its recent opinion in US v. Cooper, 437 F.3d 324 (3d Cir. 2006), in upholding a below-guideline sentence as "reasonable." This was a defendant's appeal in which defendant argued that her 23 month sentence, which was 7 months below the guideline range, was unreasonably high because her co-defendant, who was much more culpable, received only 30 months. The Court found that the judge considered the section 3553(a) factors and imposed a reasonable sentence.

Bank Fraud

In US v. Leahy (#03-4490) (panel decision) the 3rd Cir. provides the panel decision deciding the issues not addressed in the Court's en banc Leahy decision (which only addressed whether Booker applies to restitution and forfeiture). The Leahy panel decision is a lengthy one addressing jury instructions on bank fraud and related issues (good faith, willful blindness, intangible rights and co-schemer's liability), and affirming on these issues. The Court also affirms on the sufficiency of the evidence, but remands under Booker for resentencing and for recalculation of the loss amount.

Court defines scope of U.S.S.G. §2B1.1(b)(9)(C)(i) - unlawfully using a means of identification to produce another means of identification

In United States v. Newsome, Appeal No. 04-3292 (3d Cir. 3/9/06), the Third Circuit defined the scope of the U.S.S.G. §2B1.1(b)(9)(C)(i) - a two level enhancement for "the unauthorized transfer or use of any means of identification unlawfully to produce or obtain any other means of identification." Newsome used the personal contact information and account information of bank customers to produce fake driver's licenses, employee identification cards, and pre-printed withdrawal slips. At sentencing, he contended that the enhancement should not apply because the new physical documentation contained the same means of identification - i.e. names, dates of birth, account numbers, etc. - as the existing means of identification used to create the new physical documentation.

The Third Circuit concluded that the enhancement could not be construed so narrowly. The new means of identification did not have to be "different," it just needed to be "additional." Accor…

Customs Inspector Not Required to Give Miranda Warning to Man Suspected of Alien Smuggling

In United States v. Kiam, No. 5-1384 (3d Cir. Jan 3, 2006), the Third Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a motion to suppress a statement given to a customs agent. The statement at issue was a second statement given after Miranda warnings were administered. The second statement was made, however, after the defendant had given an earlier confession to a customs inspector. Before that first statement, the customs inspector had not administered any Miranda warning.

The defendant, Long Tong Kiam, was convicted of alien smuggling. A citizen of Singapore, he was on the same Frankfurt to Philadelphia flight as three Chinese nationals. The Chinese nationals had presented Singaporean passports in Frankfurt, but did not have any passports with them upon arrival in Philadelphia. In previous weeks, customs agents had uncovered alien smuggling schemes whose characteristics matched those of Mr. Kiam and the Chinese Nationals. Mr. Kiam was escorted by Customs officials to, and w…