United States v. Cesar Antonio Becerra (9th Cir. September 2019)

The Court reversed the defendant's conviction, holding that the district court's failure to orally instruct the jury on the elements of the charged offenses was a structural and plain error even where the district court orally confirmed with each juror that they had read the instructions.

United States v. David Wright (1st Cir. August 2019)

The Court reversed the defendant's conviction. In reviewing the trial court’s jury instructions on providing material support or resources to a terrorist organization, the Court held that a defendant does not act “in coordination” with a terrorist group simply by utilizing “strategy” or “tactics” used by that organization and published online by that organization.

Michael Wade Nance v. Warden (11th Cir. April 2019)

Reviewing a petitioner’s § 2254 motion, the Court held that the state court’s rejection of petitioner’s ineffective claim was objectively reasonable since trial counsel’s decision to refrain from presenting certain mitigation evidence at death penalty sentencing was a strategic decision. The Court also held that the state court did not go against clearly established federal law in holding that the trial court did not err in requiring defendant to wear a stun belt under his clothes because the Supreme Court has only established that requiring visible restraints is prejudicial.

United States v. Stanislav Pavlenko (11th Cir. April 2019)

The Court dismissed the defendant’s appeal, holding that it lacked jurisdiction to review an order dismissing the indictment against the defendant. Even though the order was explicitly based on the government’s promise to dismiss charges in exchange for the defendant’s agreement to leave the U.S. for ten years, the order itself did not impose those terms on the defendant or create a legal interest that would give him standing to appeal the order.

Wyndell Hall v. Secretary, Department of Corrections (11th Cir. April 2019)

The Court held that the district court erred in dismissing the petitioner’s § 2254 motion as untimely after he filed a defective postconviction motion in state court. The Court held that the petitioner’s amended motion related back to the original filing, thus tolling the AEDPA’s statute of limitations from the time of the original filing until the amended motion was denied with prejudice.
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