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Showing posts from January, 2011

Collective Knowledge of Police Sufficient to Support Reasonable Suspicion for Terry Stop

In United States v. Whitfield, No. 09-3031 (3d Cir., filed December 6, 2010, published January 6, 2011), four Camden police officers in three marked police vehicles were patrolling an area of the city known for violence and drug activity involving crack cocaine. As the caravan approached a particularly active street corner, the officers in the lead car observed two individuals in conversation, later identified as Defendants Whitfield and Langston. Upon receipt of this notice regarding the defendants, the officer in the second car, Officer Redd, observed the defendants engage in a hand-to-hand exchange and quickly exit the area. Officer Redd notified his fellow officers that they should “check out” the two men. However, Officer Redd did not inform his colleagues that he had observed a hand-to-hand exchange between the defendants. All four of the officers stopped their vehicles and approached the defendants. Officer Redd and Sergeant Rivera, who had been driving the third police vehicle…

Circuit Requires Relevant Conduct to Cross-Reference

Kulick pled guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm. In exchange, the government dismissed other charges, including an extortion charge, dating from more than a year earlier. Nonetheless, the district court cross-referenced to the extortion guideline at sentencing, resulting in application of a guideline four levels higher than would have applied for the unlawful possession of a firearm. The Third Circuit reversed. See United States v. Kulick, No. 09-3833, http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/093833p.pdf.

In reversing, the Court made two important holdings. First, weighing in on a circuit split, the Court decided that cross-referenced conduct is limited to relevant conduct. Thus, in order for the cross-reference here to have been appropriate, the extortion must have been relevant conduct to the unlawful possession of the firearm. Second, the Court held, the extortion was not relevant conduct to the unlawful possession. The two were not part of the same course of conduct or a…