U.S. v. Mendoza, No. 06-50447 (3-3-08). The government waited 8 years between indictment and arrest. Although the defendant was in the Philippines for a good part of that time, the government failed to notify him, or make any attempt to contact him about the tax charges. As a result, the government's dawdling results in a Sixth Amendment speedy trial right.
U.S. v. Cannel, No. 06-30590 (3-3-08). The defendant alleged a plain error breach of the plea agreement because the government objected to acceptance of responsibility and would not move for a third level. This was in a child porn case. The defendant objected to the PSR's enhancement for distribution of porn. The government responded and objected to any reduction for acceptance of responsibility because of the position the defendant took. The court overruled the objection to acceptance, but lacked jurisdiction to grant a third level because the government did not move for it. The problem with defendant is that he got a below guideline sentence, and so the 9th found no breach and no prejudice.
In re Copley Press, Inc., ex rel US v. Higuera-Guerrero, No. 07-72143 (3-4-08). You know that every federal judge pines for First Amendment cases; "ha-ha!," they'll exclaim, "real constitutional issues." So it is here, in a major narcotics case with cooperation, where the press wants to read all the plea colloquies and attachments and transcripts in a sealed criminal proceeding. The 9th (Kozinski) goes through the tests, finds various rights to see the documents, but finds in some a substantial government interest in sealing due to danger. Some parts of the colloquies get disclosed; some do not.
U.S. v. Alghazouli, No. 06-50422 (3-4-08). In this "green" era, the defendant argues that the law is not black and white. Here, it concerned regulations that forbid the importation of R-12 Freon, an ozone depleting substance. The 9th affirmed the convictions, holding that a regulation was indeed a law, but only when the statute specifies that a violation of the regulation is a crime.