Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2009

Citing Hodari D., the Third Circuit reverses District Court’s order suppressing evidence.

In United States v. Waterman, No. 08-2543, June 24, 2009, the Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s suppression of evidence and remanded for further proceedings.

The facts of the case are as follows: Police officers responded to a dispatcher’s report of an anonymous caller’s observation of a "subject" with a gun at a specific location. Upon arrival at the location the officer’s observed five individuals standing on the front porch of a house. The officer’s exited their vehicle and without seeing any weapons, ordered the individuals to put their hands in the air. All individuals complied, except one - Waterman - who kept his hands in his jacket pockets. The officers, who still had not seen any weapons, removed their firearms and repeatedly ordered Waterman to show his hands. Waterman didn’t comply and, instead, entered the residence. Guns and drugs were subsequently discovered in the residence.

The district court suppressed the recovered evidence concluding that Waterm…

Court affirms denial of sentence reduction for eligible crack defendant

Continuing its long string of affirmances in crack resentencing cases, the Third Circuit affirmed the denial of sentence reduction for an eligible defendant in United States v. Styer, 08-2951 (3d Cir. March 25, 2009) (published June 16, 2009). Although the defendant was eligible for a reduction under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), the district court found that consideration of the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors and the safety and welfare of the public made a sentence reduction inappropriate. On appeal, the Third Circuit ruled that: (1) the defendant was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing and the court did not abuse its discretion in failing to hold an evidentiary hearing; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that, despite the defendant's progress since incarceration, the nature of the defendant's crime, his criminal history, his use of firearms, and the need for deterrence and public safety made a reduction inappropriate; and (3) the defendant's unmo…

Supreme Court upholds Third Circuit's classification of mail fraud offense as an "aggravated felony"

Petitioner, an alien, was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. No jury finding was made regarding the amount of loss for those offenses because the amount of loss was not an element of the offense for any count of conviction. Instead, Petitioner stipulated at sentencing to a loss that exceeded $100 million. Near the end of Petitioner's term of imprisonment, the Government sought to remove Petitioner from the United States based on his commission of an "aggravated felony," namely, an offense that involved fraud or deceit in which the loss to the victims exceeded $10,000 (8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(M)(i)). Petitioner argued that under the categorical approach of Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575 (1990), both the "fraud and deceit" and "loss" elements of § 1101(a)(43)(M)(i) must have been found by a jury in order for him to have been convicted of an aggravated felony.

The Supreme Court in Nijhawan v. H…