Monday, November 17, 2014

United States v. Martinez, No. 13-10563 (Owens with Schroeder and Friedland).
Sykes alive, one can't run away from precedent. This is an ACCA case, where one prior -- California Vehicle Code § 2800.2 for vehicle flight from a pursuing peace officer -- determines whether the defendant gets the mandatory minimum 15 year sentence. The Ninth Circuit held that the prior flight conviction is a possible crime of violence under ACCA's residual clause. The Supreme Court in Sykes found that a similar Indiana state statute was a violent felony. The court rejected the argument that § 2800.2 doesn't qualify under the residual clause because it has a lower mens rea and fewer actus reus elements than the Indiana statute at issue in Sykes. Finally, the 9th rejects a vagueness and an Apprendi-based challenge to ACCA.

The decision is here:

United States v. Waters, No. 13-50332 (per curiam; panel was Kleinfeld, Graber, and Owens).

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a motion under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) for a retroactive sentence reduction for possession of crack cocaine under Amendment 759 to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. It did so because the defendant was a career offender, so he isn't eligible for the reduction -- just as the court had held in his previous appeal. Furthermore, the amendment to U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10 that restricted the district court's ability to reduce the sentence below the new Guidelines range was not an ex post facto violation because the statement did not increase a sentence; it just limited the availability of a present reduction to a past sentence.

The decision is here:


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