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Showing posts from May, 2011

Mere Presence of Firearm Not Sufficient to Warrant Four-level Enhancement under U.S.S.G § 2K2.1(b)(6)

In United States v. West, No. 09-2860 (3d Cir., April 29, 2011), the defendant challenged the four-level enhancement applied to his sentence for possession of a stolen firearm pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(6). He also challenged the sentencing court’s finding that a recent subsequent arrest for gun and drug possession was relevant conduct to the stolen firearm offense.

In West, the defendant was arrested on two separate occasions in 2007. During a traffic stop on February 28, 2007, police found cash, a small undetermined amount of marijuana and a gun in the glove compartment. Another firearm was discovered later in a backpack in the trunk of the car. The defendant admitted possession of the cash and marijuana but denied possession of the firearms. Police later determined that the gun found in the trunk had been stolen. On July 27, 2007, a firearm was discovered in the rented apartment of the defendant’s girlfriend during a routine fire-code inspection. An undetermined amount of cash…

Court upholds Iranian trade sanctions regime in face of broad constitutional challenges

In United States v. Ali Amirnazmi, No. 10-1198 (May 13, 2011), the Court affirms on all counts a chemical engineer's conviction for marketing software to Iranian industrial enterprises. The 72-page slip opinion offers an intensive review of the historical development of subjects as varied as the unconstitutional delegation doctrine and the embargo on Iran. Responding to a series of nuanced and articulate defense challenges, the opinion addresses the authority of Congress to vest the Executive with power to define criminal sanctions; the status of “dynamic” software under laws protecting the free flow of ideas to and from embargoed nations; the application of the vagueness doctrine; the law of conspiracy; and the validity of subpoenas under Criminal Procedure Rule 17(c).

Judge Scirica, joined by Judges Barry and Vanaskie, confronts an intricate web of statutes and Treasury Department regulations defining the Iran embargo inaugurated by President Clinton’s executive order in 1995. Th…