Circuit Court Opinions

The Federal Docket

United States v. Lee Saint Fleur

United States v. Lee Saint Fleur, No. 18-11309 (February 20, 2019), UNPUBLISHED The Court affirmed the district court’s denial of a motion to suppress based on the independent source doctrine. The officer’s affidavit in support of the application for a search warrant contained sufficient evidence to support probable cause based on his initial entry into …

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United States v. Albert Pickett

United States v. Albert Pickett, No. 17-13476 (February 20, 2019) The Court remanded the defendant’s second § 2255 motion since the defendant did not have an opportunity to show his conviction was based solely on the ACCA’s residual clause prior to the Eleventh Circuit announcing the heightened standard in Beeman. 28 USC 2255/ACCA – Defendant’s …

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United States v. Stephanie Anor

United States v. Stephanie Anor, No. 17-15608 (February 20, 2019), UNPUBLISHED The Court vacated the defendant’s sentence after the sentencing court erred in attributing the conspiracy’s entire intended loss amount to the defendant. While the defendant was part of a broader fraudulent tax-return scheme, there was insufficient evidence that that she knew the extent of …

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United States v. Paul Harris

United States v. Paul Harris, No. 18-12418 (February 19, 2019) The Eleventh Circuit affirmed a prison guard defendant’s conviction for Hobbs Act extortion based on evidence that he confiscated contraband from inmates for his personal use and that the inmates “consented” by not reporting the defendant out of fear that they would be punished for …

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United States v. Matthew Caniff

United States v. Matthew Caniff, No. 17-12410 (February 15, 2019) The Court affirmed the defendant’s conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 2251(d), holding that the defendant “made a notice” requesting child pornography when he sent a text message soliciting naked pictures from an undercover agent posing as a minor. The Court also found sufficient evidence that …

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United States v. Valois

United States v. Valois, et al., No. 17-13535 (February 12, 2019) Two groups of individuals were intercepted by the Coast Guard and prosecuted separately for drug trafficking on the high seas. The Court affirmed the second group’s convictions, holding that a mistrial was not warranted based on the prosecutor’s references to a conspiracy between the …

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United States v. Enrique Montano-Garcia

United States v. Enrique Montano-Garcia, No. 17-11773 (February 5, 2019), UNPUBLISHED The Court held that the sentencing court erred in attributing to the defendant the entire drug quantity found at his co-conspirator’s apartment because the court failed to make a finding that the defendant, a drug courier, agreed to participate in the co-conspirator’s broader criminal …

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United States v. Matthew Munksgard (11th Cir. January 2019)

The Court affirmed the defendant’s convictions for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Evidence that the bank in question had been federally insured before the fraud offense and shortly thereafter was sufficient to prove the bank was insured at the time of the offense. In identify fraud cases, the government only has to prove a defendant used another’s identity to accomplish some purpose, and there is no requirement that a defendant use the identity to impersonate another or act on their behalf.

Sumnar Brewster v. Gary Hetzel (11th Cir. January 2019)

The Court reversed the district court’s denial of petitioner’s § 2254 motion, finding that petitioner received ineffective assistance of counsel when trial counsel failed to object or move for a mistrial after the court coerced a deadlocked jury into reaching a verdict. In response to reports that a lone juror was holding out, the trial court issued a formal Allencharge, three additional instructions to continue deliberating, and removed all of the reading material from the jury room after hearing that the holdout juror was doing crossword puzzles.

United States v. Robert Barton (11th Cir. December 2018)

The Court affirmed the defendant’s conviction, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting an expert’s testimony concerning DNA evidence where the expert’s methodology was reliable and any abuse of discretion was harmless. The Court also declined to consider new evidence that only became available after the defendant’s conviction.

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