Sixth Circuit

The Federal Docket

United States v. Wesley Scott Hamm (6th Cir. March 2020)

Drug Offenses/Elements – Sufficient evidence existed of a drug conspiracy, as opposed to a mere buyer-seller relationship, where the relationship was ongoing, the quantities involved were large, the transaction involved extensive planning, and the alleged seller taught the buyer how to mix the drugs for resale. Drug Offenses/Death Counts – Sufficient evidence existed that the …

United States v. Wesley Scott Hamm (6th Cir. March 2020) Read More »

United States v. Jermain Marvin Alexander (6th Cir. March 2020)

The Court held that a defendant who requested a reduced sentence under Section 404 of the First Step Act, which makes the Fair Sentencing Act retroactive, is not entitled to a de novo re-sentencing hearing.

United States v. William Dale Wooden (6th Cir. December 2019)

The Court held that the defendant’s consent for an undercover officer to enter his house was not tainted by “police deception.” While the officer did not identify himself as law enforcement to the defendant when he asked to talk to the defendant’s wife and to step inside “to get out of the cold,” the officer did not take any affirmative acts to conceal his identity from the defendant. The Court also held that Wooden’s burglary convictions under Georgia law qualified as crimes of violence under the ACCA.

United States v. Ray Foster (6th Cir. December 2019)

The Court held that the double jeopardy clause did not bar the Government from retrying the defendant where the prosecution did not “coax” the defendant into requesting a mistrial at his first trial. Despite the fact that the prosecution had repeatedly and obviously violated the defendant’s right to confrontation of witnesses at that trial, the district court did not clearly err in finding that the prosecutor had not intended to lure the defendant into requesting a mistrial, citing the strength of the prosecutor’s case and the prosecution consistently arguing that the confrontation clause did not apply.

United States v. Marshyia S. Ligon (6th Cir. September 2019)

The Court vacated the defendant’s sentence and ordered that he be re-sentenced in front of another judge, holding that the Government breached the plea agreement when it argued for a sentence within the Guidelines range that was calculated by the sentencing court and that was higher than the range anticipated by the plea agreement. The plea agreement obligated the Government to argue for a sentence within the range based on the parties’ stipulations in the plea agreement.

United States v. Damion Faulkner (6th Cir. June 2019)

The district court declined to group the convictions together and the Court affirmed on appeal. While U.S.S.G. § 3D1.2 provides that “all counts involving substantially the same harm shall be grouped together into a single Group,” Faulker had failed to show that: a) the counts were based on the same act or transaction, b) the counts involved “substantially the same harm,” c) the charged offense was already accounted for under the Guidelines provision governing the principal offense, and d) the offense level was not determined on a loss amount or other “measure of aggregate harm.”

United States v. Sharon Gandy et al. (6th Cir. June 2019)

The Court held there was sufficient evidence to convict the defendants of identify theft and mail fraud. The Court also rejected the argument that the defendants received ineffective assistance from conflicted counsel after the defendants filed bar complaints against them. The Court held that the defendants failed to show that their attorneys had a conflict of interest, let alone were ineffective, since “the state-bar grievances did not create conflicting obligations” and thus did not put the attorneys in a position to have to choose one interest over another.

United States v. Dean Doutt (6th Cir. June 2019)

On appeal, the Court held that the sentencing court applied the wrong legal standard under U.S.S.G. § 2G2.2(b)(5), which enhances a defendant’s sentence if the offense involves sexual activity with a minor between the ages of 12 and 16 “if the perpretrator was at least four years older than the minor. The district court erred by merely subtracting the victim’s age from the defendant’s without respect to how old each of them actually were at the time of the sexual contact.

United States v. Jeffery Havis (6th Cir. June 2019), EN BANC

Sitting en banc, the Fifth Circuit held that the Commission’s commentary and Application Notes cannot be read into the text of a Guidelines provision and that the Commission’s use of commentary to add elements and definitions to Guidelines provisions “deserves no deference.” Since § 4B1.2, the provisions enhancing the sentencing range for career offenders, does not, by its own text, include attempt crimes as “controlled substance offenses,” prior convictions for attempted crimes do not fall under § 4B1.2(b).

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