Fifth Amendment

The Federal Docket

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. Samuel Elliott (10th Cir. September 2019)

The Court reversed the defendant’s convictions on three of four counts for possession of child pornography. The Court held that 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(5)(B), which prohibits knowingly possessing “any book, magazine…or any other material that contains an image of child pornography,” was ambiguous regarding the “unit of prosecution,” so the defendant could not be convicted for multiple counts based on having child pornography on multiple devices.

United States v. Michael O’Brien (2d Cir. June 2019)

The Court held that suppression was not warranted where the defendant waived his Miranda rights, despite officers allowing him to take valium to avoid withdrawals, where there was other evidence indicating he was lucid, and where the defendant voluntarily consented to the search of his apartment upon signing a Written Consent.

Ricky Langley v. Warden (5th Cir. June 2019), EN BANC

The Court held that the state court’s ruling that the defendant’s third conviction for murder was not barred by the double jeopardy clause was not contrary to clearly established law as stated in the Supreme Court’s holding Ashe v. Swenson, since Ashe applies to prosecutions following general acquittals for the same conduct, not convictions, even where a defendant is convicted on a lesser-included offense.

Gamble v. United States (U.S. Supreme Court, June 2019)

The Court affirmed the defendant’s federal conviction for the same crime he had been convicted under Alabama state law, reaffirming the dual sovereignty exception to the Double Jeopardy clause of the U.S. Constitution.

United States v. Diosme Hano and Reinaldo Arrastia-Cardoso (11th Cir. April 2019)

The Court affirmed the defendants’ convictions and sentences, holding that 1) the statute of limitations did not bar prosecution since subsequent DNA testing implicated the defendant, 2) a non-testifying co-defendant’s hearsay statements implicating the defendant were admissible as non-testimonial since the co-defendant had no reason to believe the statements would serve as a substitute for testimony, 3) there were no evidentiary errors and the evidence was sufficient to convict, 4) the prosecutor’s comment in closing that there was no other explanation for defendants’ DNA at the crime scene was not a comment on the defendant’s decision not to testify, and 5) the sentencing court properly applied an enhancement for “using” a weapon.

United States v. Tremane Carthen, et al. (11th Cir. October 2018)

The Court affirmed the convictions of two defendants who were sentenced under § 924(c), holding that the district court did not err in admitting hearsay testimony from a co-conspirator or in excluding specific instances of the co-conspirators prior lies to impeach him, and that the mandatory sentencing scheme in § 924(c) was constitutional.

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