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Showing posts from July, 2008

Court Rejects Habeas Petition Challenging Parole Commission’s Procedures

[This case summarized by Ahmed Soliman, legal intern, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.]

In Christopher Furnari v. U.S. Parole Commission, No. 07-2853 (3rd Cir. July 9, 2008), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals considered, and ultimately affirmed, an appeal of the lower court’s rejection of a habeas corpus petition for Christopher Furnari, a consigleire of the Lucchese crime family who complained that, in denying him parole five separate times, the Parole Commission mis-applied the law.

Furnari argued that (1) the Parole Commission violated the Sentencing Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. § 235(b)(3), when it scheduled a rehearing date after the Commission’s authority expired; (2) that the denial of parole was based on an improperly-calculated offense severity rating; and (3) that the Commission failed to give adequate weight to certain mitigating information.

The Court denied the Sentencing Reform Act challenge, holding that because Congress extended the life of the Parole Commission, the hearing w…

Immigration judge abused discretion when motion for continuance was denied as a result of delay caused by Department of Homeland Security

[This case summarized by Ahmed Soliman, legal intern, Federal & Community Defender for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.]

In United States v. Hashmi, No. 06-3934, (3rd Cir. July 7, 2008), the court addressed whether an immigration judge abused his discretion after denying a continuance, agreed to by the government, simply because the case was pending for a period of time longer than the 18 months suggested by the "case completion goals" set by the Department of Justice, despite the fact that the Department of Homeland Security was the cause of the case’s delay, and not the defendant.

The court ruled that the immigration judge did indeed abuse his discretion, stating that the case completion goals were merely a guide, not a rule that should trump consideration of the individual circumstances of each case. In the case of Hashmi, the court found that the circumstances causing a delay in the case proceedings were "absurd" since one division of the Department of H…