Wednesday, April 20, 2016

1.  US v. Onuoha, No. 15-50300 (4-20-16)(Gould with Berzon and Steeh, D.J.)  This is a Sell involuntary medication issue.  The 9th reverses the district court's order for involuntary medication to treat defendant's schizophrenia and to restore him to competency.  The 9th found that the government had an important interest in prosecuting the defendant, who had made a threat that shut down LAX.  However, under Sell, the defendant has a self-interest in the best medical course of action.  The district court clearly erred in finding that involuntary medication was in the defendant's best interests given the effect of anti-psychotic medication under the circumstances, the course of treatment, and the amount proposed to be given.  The 9th remands to the court for a full consideration of the best medical interest of the defendant and the contradictory medical evidence.

The decision is here:

Congrats to Brianna Mircheff, Deputy FPD, Cal Central (L.A.).

2.   US v. Cruz, No. 10-50115 (4-20-16)(Bybee with Farris and N. Smith).  The 9th affirms a life sentence for a mid-level drug dealer because he had two prior drug felonies and such a sentence is mandated by 21 U.S.C. ยง 841.  The sentence is mandated even though, under California's Prop 47, one of the state priors was reclassified as a misdemeanor.  The 9th holds that a subsequent change and reclassification of a state conviction would not impact a federal sentence properly imposed at the time.  The 9th has previously found that a prior conviction, even subsequently expunged or dismissed, would not alter a sentence.  If a dismissal didn't cause a resentencing on the recidivist statute, a reclassification also would not.  The 9th also stated that Congress could have allowed for such reconsideration, or have changed 841, but it hasn't.  The recidivist statute also serves a purpose to "send a message."

The decision is here:


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