Circuit Court Opinions

United States v. Juan Solano (2nd Cir. July 2020)

The Second Circuit reversed a defendant's conviction. The defendant testified at trial, and the district court plainly erred in instructing the jury that any witness with an interest in the outcome of the case may have a motive to testify falsely, as it cut against the presumption of innocence and prejudiced the defendant.

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United States v. Michael Vickers (5th Cir. July 2020)

The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court that vacated a defendant's sentence under the ACCA and Career Offender enhancement, holding that the defendant’s prior state murder conviction under Texas law qualified as a violent felony under the ACCA despite the prior statute not distinguishing between direct and indirect force.

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United States v. Lemont Webb (4th Cir. July 2020)

The Fourth Circuit affirmed the defendant's convictions on several grounds but vacated his life sentence for drug and money laundering offenses, holding that the sentencing court failed to consider several non-frivolous arguments the defendant raised, including arguments regarding lower recidivism for older offenders, sentence disparities with co-defendants, and the defendant's legitimate work history.

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United States v. Michael Bourquin (6th Cir. July 2020)

The Sixth Circuit vacated a defendant's sentence based on insufficient evidence to support the district court's application of the four-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. 2A6.1(b)(4), which applies when the offense a substantial expenditure of funds to...otherwise respond to the offense. The government had not presented any specific accounting of its expenses in responding to the offense, nor had it distinguished its expenses as "substantial" as opposed to "typical."

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