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Showing posts from October, 2012

No Crack Reduction for Career Offenders Even if Sentence is Based On the Crack Range

United States v. Ware, --- F.3d ----, 2012 WL 4216831 (3d Cir. Sept. 21, 2012).
Defendants, each designated career offenders, were ultimately sentenced based on the crack guidelines through a variance and a departure. Each moved for sentence reductions under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), based on the amended crack cocaine guidelines implementing the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. In the first case, Ware, the district court granted the motion for sentence reduction, reasoning that the sentence was "based on" the crack guideline (as required in 18 U.S.C. § 3582) as that term was defined by the plurality and Justice Sotomayor in Freeman v. United States, 131 S.Ct. 2685, 2695 (2011) (holding that "if a [plea agreement pursuant to Rule 11(c)(1)(C) ] expressly uses a Guidelines sentencing range applicable to the charged offense to establish the term of imprisonment, and that range is subsequently lowered by the United States Sentencing Commission, the term of imprisonment is ‘base…

Court Reverses in CP Case where Court did not View Challenged CP Evidence / Finds Unfair Prejudice

United States v. Cunningham, --- F.3d ----, 2012 WL 4075875 (3d Cir. Sept. 18, 2012).  Cunningham was charged in a three count indictment with receiving, possessing, and  distributing child pornography. Prior to trial, Cunningham filed a motion to preclude the government from showing the jury any of the child pornography videos recovered from his computer. He asserted that because he was stipulating that the government exhibits constituted child pornography the probative value of the evidence was diminished. The district court denied the motion, permitting the government to present "representative samples"and file names. The Court also directed the parties to meet and attempt to reach a stipulation and a joint cautionary jury instruction. The parties agreed to a stipulation advising the jury that the video files obtained from Cunningham’s IP address and physical address depicted real children under the age of 18 engaging in sexually explicit content.

After the governm…

Discovery for Organizational Defendants / Invited Error / Inconsistent Verdicts

United States v. Maury, --- F.3d ----, 2012 WL 4074565 (3d Cir. Sept. 17, 2012).  In a lengthy decision affirming convictions for organization and multiple individual defendants under the Clean Water Act, the Court addresses multiple issues and, in short, held: (1) Rule governing discovery rights of organizational defendants mandated disclosure only of the binding statements (Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(a)(1)(C)(i), (ii)), that related to alleged misconduct and not of all statements made by employees; (2) "invited error" doctrine applied and prevented defendants from objecting to district court's actions in giving the lesser-included offense and simple negligence instructions which they had requested; and (3) fact that the jury convicted defendants only of lesser-included offense of negligently violating the Clean Water Act, rather than any willful violation, and at same time found them guilty of knowingly participating in conspiracy to violate the CWA, was not necessarily inco…