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Showing posts from September, 2008

Third Circuit Affirms One Variance to Probation; Reverses Another

Sentence Affirmed:

In United States v. Howe, No. 07-1404 (3d Cir. Sept. 18, 2008), defendant was convicted of two counts of wire fraud. At sentencing, the district court granted a variance from the recommended Sentencing Guidelines range of 18 to 24 months’ imprisonment and sentenced him to two years’ probation (including three months’ home confinement). In imposing sentence the district court stated that such a sentence best served the considerations of § 3553(a) and articulated numerous reasons: (1) Howe “led an honorable and lawful life until this point” and had no prior criminal history; (2) Howe “served in the U.S. Military for 20 years”; (3) Howe was a “well-regarded member of [his] community”; (4) Howe “regularly attend[s] church”; (5) Howe was a “devoted husband, father, and son”; (6) Howe made but an “isolated mistake” in committing his crime; and (7) Howe was remorseful at sentencing.

The government appealed. In affirming, the Circuit rejected the government’s claims o…

District Court's errors in admitting hearsay statement as present sense impression and defendant’s un-Mirandized admissions were not harmless.

Defendant Artega Green was convicted by a jury of one count of distribution of crack cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841. The evidence offered by the Government at trial consisted of: (1) the testimony of two DEA agents; (2) an audio recording in which the CI called a cell phone number "associated with" Green and ordered 3 ounces of crack; and (3) a video in which the CI allegedly engaged in a drug transaction with Green. The video was of poor quality and only briefly depicted the profile of the alleged perpetrator.

Admission of CI’s Statement: The crux of the Government’s case was proving that Green was the individual captured on its audio and video evidence. It sought to do this exclusively through the testimony of the DEA agents. The CI testified as the sole defense witness and stated that Green was not the person depicted in the video. The CI also testified that the DEA agents used him before in an attempt to catch Green on video selling drugs, but that those attempt…