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Monthly Archive: April 2012

April 27, 2012

Third Circuit Rules that Federal Sentencing Enhancement for Possessing a Firearm While Committing A Felony Applies – Even When the Felony is the Burglary of the Same Firearm

In United States v. Keller, 666 F.3d 103 (3d Cir. 2011), the prosecution appealed a decision of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, which found that a sentencing enhancement under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 2K2.1(b)(6) did not apply to defendant's conduct. This enhancement increases a defendant's offense level by four points when he "used or possessed any firearm or ammunition in connection with another felony offense." In 2007, Defendant Jason Keller and two others burglarized a gun shop in Western Pennsylvania. Keller and his...

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Posted in: Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes

April 26, 2012

Employee Who Used Work Computers to Steal Trade Secrets Secures Dismissal of Charges

In United States v. Nosal, No. 10-10038, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 7151, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that theft of trade secrets by an employee using his work computer did not qualify as a federal crime under the statute used to charge him. The Court upheld the ruling of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, which dismissed five counts of an indictment against defendant for failure to state an offense pursuant to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA),...

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Posted in: Federal White Collar Crime

April 18, 2012

5th Circuit Holds that a Defendant’s Confession to Harboring Illegal Aliens Can Be Suppressed Where ICE Agents Violated the Fourth Amendment

In United States v. Hernandez, 670 F.3d 616 (Ct. App. 5th 2012), The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found error in the denial of a Defendant’s motion to suppress her post-Miranda statements as fruit of the poisonous tree. The Court reversed the denial of defendant's suppression motion, vacated the conviction and sentence, and remanded. In Hernandez, law enforcement officers received an anonymous tip that ten to fifteen illegal aliens were being held against their will in Defendant Melinda Hernandez's trailer. The officers, including Immigration and Customs...

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Posted in: Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes

April 17, 2012

Supreme Court Approves Strip Searches, Even For Minor Offenses

The Supreme Court of the United States recently held, in a 5-4 decision, that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, no matter how minor, before admitting them to jails - even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband. In Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders, Petitioner Albert W. Florence was arrested during a traffic stop by a New Jersey state trooper. The trooper checked a statewide computer database and found a bench warrant issued for petitioner's arrest after he failed to appear at a hearing to enforce a fine. Petitioner was...

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Posted in: Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes

April 16, 2012

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Rules That Second Amendment Protections Are Limited for Gun Owners Who Live With Convicted Felons

In United States v. Huet, No. 10-4729 (3d Cir. Jan 5, 2012), Police executed a valid search warrant of a home shared by Melissa Huet and Marvin Hall — Hall happened to be a convicted felon. In the course of the search, police found a firearm. The Government charged Hall with illegal possession of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), and charged Huet with aiding and abetting his possession, also under § 922(g). Huet filed a motion under Rule 12 (b)(3)(B) to dismiss the charge on grounds that the Indictment failed to...

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Posted in: Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes