Federal Docket Logo White

The Federal Docket

Recent Circuit Cases

The Federal Docket

United States v. Gatto, et al (2d Cir. January 2021)

The Second Circuit affirmed the convictions of three men who had recruited college basketball players to certain universities by giving their families secret cash payments and then lying to the NCAA about it. The Court held that the elements of wire fraud were met because, through the defendants’ misrepresentations, they had deprived the universities of scholarship money paid to the college athletes that could have gone to eligible athletes that did not receive cash payments.

United States v. Melvyn Gear (9th Cir. January 2021)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a defendant’s conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm by a nonimmigrant visa holder, but held that the Government must prove more than merely the fact that a defendant’s visa is labeled as a nonimmigrant visa. The Government must show that the defendant knew his visa’s classification or knew the offending characteristics of the visa that makes his firearm possession unlawful.

United States v. Fred McGee (7th Cir. January 2021)

The Seventh Circuit vacated a defendant’s sentence based on the district court improperly applying a role enhancement. While the defendant distributed drugs through his own local network in addition to the main network in his offense and paid others to act as lookouts or drivers, the Court held this was insufficient to apply the enhancement because, explaining that having a local network of buyers alone does not establish authority over others and that there was insufficient evidence that the defendant exercised authority over others simply by paying them to act in their roles as directed by the organization’s actual leader.

United States v. Julian Mora-Alcaraz (9th Cir. January 2021)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court’s order suppressing a defendant’s statements under Miranda. The officers had interrogated the defendant without advising him of his Miranda rights after they approached him in marked cars and separated him from his seven-year-old son. However, the Court remanded for the district court to determine if the defendant’s subsequent consent to search his vehicle was voluntary.

United States v. Nowlin Lee Waugh, Jr. (9th Cir. December 2019)

The Court affirmed the defendant’s conviction for possession of meth with intent to distribute, holding that the defendant was not entitled to a jury instruction on the lesser included offense of simple possession where the evidence showed that the quantity of meth exceeded the quantity associated with personal use, the meth’s purity suggested that the meth was being used as a cutting agent, and the defendant’s travel indicated possible distribution.

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. Steven Wang (9th Cir. December 2019)

The Court held that the sentencing court committed plain error by applying the general-fraud Guidelines under U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1 because the defendant’s mail fraud conviction also established a visa fraud offense specifically covered under U.S.S.G. § 2L2.1, the Guideline for visa fraud.

United States v. David Blaszczak, et al. (2d Cir. December 2019)

The Court held that confidential, nonpublic information generated and held by a government agency constitutes “property” in Title 18 fraud offenses. The Court also held, unlike in Title 15 securities fraud cases, a defendant charged with securities or wire fraud under Title 18 does not have to receive a personal benefit to be convicted.

United States v. Kyle Adam Kirby (11th Cir. September 2019)

The Court affirmed the defendant’s sentence. The district court did not err by holding that the Guidelines recommend consecutive maximum sentences for each count of conviction where the Guidelines range (life imprisonment) exceeds the statutory maximum for each count.

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.

Scroll to Top