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Eleventh Circuit

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United States v. John Gayden (11th Cir. October 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit affirmed a defendant doctor’s conviction and sentence for operating a “pill mill.” Among other things, the Court held that a physician does not have standing to challenge the search of a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program because they do not have a privacy interest in their prescriptions. The Court also held that dismissal of the indictment, obtained five years after the defendant’s clinic shut down, was not warranted because the defendant could prove prejudice but not that the government engaged in any deliberative conduct to gain a tactical advantage over him.

United States v. James Innocent & Elijah Jones (11th Cir. October 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the convictions and sentences of two defendants for possession of a firearm by convicted felon, holding that neither met their burden of showing that plain error under Rehaif affected their substantial rights. The Court noted that “most people convicted of a felony know that they are felons” and that the defendant had failed to meet his burden despite showing he had a low IQ and had never served more than a year in jail or prison. The Court distinguished the case from pre-Rehaif cases where a defendant had litigated their felon status or maintained that they were allowed to possess a firearm.

United States v. Lindon Amede (11th Cir. October 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the conviction of a defendant in a drug conspiracy case. The Court held that recorded hearsay statements between an unindicted co-conspirator and an undercover agent were admissible against the defendant where the exsitence of a conspiracy was proved by the co-conspirator discussing drug transactions with the undercover, saying he would send “my guy” to the undercover to conduct business,” and the defendant showing up to conduct transactions as discussed. The Court also held that drug offenses under 841(a)(1) do not require willfullness, that the district court did not err in precluding the defendant from presenting a duress defense, and the district court did not err in allowing the defendant to represent himself at sentencing.

United States v. Toddrey Bruce (11th Cir. October 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit affirmed denial of a defendant’s motion to suppress where the defendant had been apprehended by law enforcement after fleeing upon their approach. The Court held that the officers had reasonable suspicion to detain the defendant where they were responding to a 911 call at 3AM in a high-crime area and the caller had noted that two men were arguing, one with a gun, and there could be shooting at any time.

United States v. Anthony Knights (11th Cir. August 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit upheld a defendant’s conviction and held there was no investigatory stop where officers did not make a show of authority and other people left the scene as the officers approached.

United States v. Christopher Henry (11th Cir. August 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit vacated the defendant’s sentence because the district court failed to apply a provision of the Sentencing Guidelines that would have reduced the defendant’s sentence by the amount of time served in a separate but related case, holding that the Guidelines are still binding if they do not enhance a defendant’s sentence or mandate imposition of a sentence within the Guidelines range.

United States v. Green, et al (11th Cir. August 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit vacated six defendants’ sentences because their RICO conspiracy convictions did not qualify as violent crimes under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). The Court also held that one of the defendant’s sentences was unreasonable.

United States v. Julio Estrada and Bartolo Hernandez (11th Cir. August 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit upheld two defendants’ convictions for bringing Cuban nationals into the United States because the Cuban Adjustment Act and the Wet-Foot/Dry-Foot policy do not give prior official authorization for Cuban nationals to enter, come to, or reside in the United States.

United States v. Cedrin Carter (11th Cir. August 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit upheld a defendant’s conviction and sentence under the ACCA because his prior convictions in 2009 were separate offenses.

United States v. Erickson Campbell (11th Cir. August 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit reconsidered its prior panel decision and upheld a district court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence found during a traffic stop because the officer had reasonable suspicion for the stop and, although he improperly prolonged the stop, the exclusionary rule did not apply.

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