Thursday, May 06, 2010

Collins v. Runnels, No. 08-17299 (5-5-10) (Hug with Kozinski and Clifton). The 9th concludes that there is no constitutional standard binding on the states requiring severance in cases where defendants present mutually antagonistic defenses. The petitioner here was convicted of first degree murder. He had an alibi defense while the co-defendant argued duress (pointing at petitioner). California has a statute that presumes and favors joint trials. The state court had limiting instructions, and the state appellate courts found this to be sufficient. Under AEDPA, the 9th finds that the state's holding was not unreasonable.

U.S. v. Mousavi, No. 08-50454 (5-5-10) (Ikuta with Gould and George, D.J.). The 9th looks at "willfully" in the context of the IEEPA (the Iranian embargo). The 9th concludes that willfulness requires the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted with knowledge that his conduct was unlawful, but not that the defendant was aware of a specific licensing requirement. In this case, the 9th concludes that the evidence was sufficient for a conviction -- the defendant was a sophisticated business operator, who had contacts with Iran, and took steps to avoid the embargo.


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