Willie B. Smith, III v. Commissioner (11th Cir. May 2019)

The Court affirmed the district court’s denial of the defendant’s habeas petition under § 2254. The defendant failed to show that the state court’s denial of Atkins claim of ineligibility for the death penalty due to intellectual disability or denial of his Batson claim were contrary to clearly established law or constituted an unreasonable determination of the facts. The Court also held that the requirement in Moore v. Texas that state courts consider prevailing medical standards in adjudicating Atkins claims was not retroactive under Teague.

United States v. Jeffrey Cooper (11th Cir. June 2019)

Sixth Amendment/Confrontation Clause – There was no confrontation clause violation when law enforcement agent testified that the victims refused to testify because they feared humiliation since their statements regarding why they would not testify were not testimonial. However, the mens’ reasons for visiting the defendant’s apartment were testimonial statements since they were made in response […]

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

The Court struck down 18 U.S.C. § 3583(k) which required district courts to impose a mandatory minimum sentence upon revoking a term of supervised release for certain offenses, as the Court cannot impose a sentence exceeding a term of supervised release without a jury finding guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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. 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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