Tuesday, March 19, 2019


Take note of US v. Read and the application of McCoy to insanity defenses.

1.     US v. Door, No. 17-30165 (3-12-19)(Christen w/Thomas & McKeown). This is a Guidelines sentencing issue in a prohibited firearm possessor case.  Using the categorical approach, the 9th remanded for resentencing because a Washington conviction for second-degree assault was not a “crime of violence.” However, Washington felony harassment is a “crime of violence.”  

Congrats to CJA attorney Carl Gunn for the win.

The decision is here:

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2019/03/12/17-30165.pdf

2.     US v. Read, No. 17-10439 (3-14-19)(Hawkins with M. Smith & Hurwitz).  In an issue of first impression, the 9th holds that a defendant has a Sixth Amendment right to demand that counsel not present an insanity defense.  The 9th finds that McCoy v. Louisiana, 138 S. Ct. 1500 (2018) requires such an outcome. The error is structural. The conviction is vacated and remanded for a new trial.

Congrats to CJA Davina Chen for the win.

The decision is here:

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2019/03/14/17-10439.pdf
 
3.     US v. Sha-Ron Haines, No. 17-10059 (3-14-19)(Adelman w/Wallace & Friedland). This involved FRE 412 and sex trafficking charges. The defendant was convicted on a slew of charges involving sex trafficking minors.  The defense was that the defendant was no pimp; he was just along for the ride; and the victim acted independently.  To prove this, the defendant sought to cross-examine the victim on prior prostitution. The district court precluded the line of questioning under the rape shield law, FRE 412.  In affirming the convictions, the 9th found no error in the court precluding such a line of questioning. Prior prostitution was not relevant to these acts.  The defendant argued here, though, that the victim witness wanted to testify to her prior prostitution (there was a change of heart prior to trial and a recantation). The 9th concluded that the rule does not hinge of the desire of the witness to testify or not; it is a rule of evidence, and the court must apply.  The 9th also found that any error, and it found none, was harmless.  

The decision is here:

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2019/03/14/17-10059.pdf

4.      US v. Prien-Pinto, No. 18-30055 (3-12-19)(Bybee w/Fletcher & Burns). The issue is the constitutionality of a guidelines enhancement for possession of a stolen firearm.  Under 2K2.1(b)(4), the sentence is enhanced for a prohibited possessor if the firearm was stolen. The commendatory requires the enhancement regardless of the defendant’s knowledge or mens rea. The decision is controlled by US v. Goodell, 990 F.2d 497 (9th Cir. 1993). Subsequent Supreme Court decisions on the guidelines, their mandatory nature, the role of commentary, and the Sixth Amendment affect the Goodell decision.  The 9th joins the ten other circuits in so holding.

The decision is here:

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2019/03/12/18-30055.pdf

 

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019 7:52:00 AM  

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