- Child Pornography
- Domestic Violence Cases
- Drug Crimes
- Federal White Collar Crime
- Health Care Fraud
- International Criminal Law and Extradition
- Internet Crime
- Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes
- Money Laundering and Racketeering (RICO)
- Professional Licensure Issues
- Sex Crimes & Abuse Allegations
- April 3, 2015
Legalization of Medical Cannabis in Pennsylvania
- December 10, 2014
Superior Court Clarifies “Course of Conduct” for Corruption of Minors
- November 11, 2014
Fifth Amendment Does Not Protect Fingerprint-Protected Devices
- October 14, 2014
Appeals Court Tosses Conviction Based On Illegal Child Pornography Investigation
- September 17, 2014
Government Must Present Evidence of File Sharing for Distribution of Child Pornography
Court Finds Proof of Witness Tampering Insufficient
In U.S. v. Shavers, No. 10-2790 (Aug. 27, 2012), the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit considered the defendants’ Hobbs Act and witness tampering convictions, arising out of the robbery of a “speak-easy” in Philadelphia.
On the Hobbs Act counts, the defendants had argued that the government failed to show a “substantial effect” on interstate commerce. The Court held that only a minimal or potential effect was necessary, and found that the evidence – which showed the speakeasy had operated for years, the proprietress bought alcohol at retail and resold it to friends, and made enough money to help pay her bills, but that she shut down the business after the robbery – met that threshold, particularly if robberies like this were considered in the aggregate.
The Court found the evidence on the witness tampering counts insufficient, however. The defendants were charged under § 1512(b)(1). The Court held that a successful prosecution under this provision requires proof that the defendant contemplated a particular, foreseeable proceeding that constitutes an “official proceeding,” that is, “a proceeding before a judge or court of the United States, a United States magistrate judge, a bankruptcy judge, a judge of the United States Tax Court, a special trial judge of the Tax Court, a judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims, or a Federal grand jury.” Here, the defendants’ tampering was directed at preventing witnesses from testifying at specific state court hearings. Even if a federal proceeding might have been foreseeable, there was no nexus between their conduct and the possible federal proceeding.
All persons charged with crimes are entitled to the protections afforded by the United States Constitution. An experienced criminal defense attorney helps to ensure that a defendant’s rights are protected before, during and after a trial. If you have been charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. For a confidential consultation, contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff at (215) 563-9800 or via email at email@example.com.
Posted in: Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes