United States v. Martin Johnson (4th Cir. December 2019)

The Court held that a district court does not plainly err by failing to give a limiting instruction when admitting 404(b) evidence in the absence of a defendant's request for such an instruction. Additionally, the Court held that robbery possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute under Maryland law are predicate "violent felonies" under the ACCA.

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United States v. Sergio Murillo (4th Cir. June 2019)

The Court vacated the defendant's sentence and conviction after finding that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when trial counsel advised him that his plea would only trigger his possible deportation, where deportation was actually mandatory and the evidence reflected that the defendant would not have pleaded guilty if he knew deportation was mandatory. The Court added that the boilerplate language int he plea agreement indicating that deportation was mandatory was not dispositive.

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United States v. James William Hill III. (4th Cir. June 2019)

Noting that this was an issue of first impression in this Circuit and any other, the Court held that the defendant “substantially affected” interstate commerce by assaulting the victim and interfering with the victim’s packaging and shipping of products intended for interstate commerce. The Court cited the low standard for invoking jurisdiction under the Commerce Clause, which applies to violent conduct that has even a “minimal effect” on interstate commerce.

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