Tuesday, May 18, 2021

1.  US v. Peterson, No. 19-10246 (5-3-21)(Rawlinson w/Hunsaker & VanDyke). The 9th affirms the denial of a withdrawal from a guilty plea. The 9th reiterates that a Court does not personally have to explain the elements of the offense. The Court can reference the indictment or plea or the factual basis and even rely upon defense counsel. The 9th distinguishes precedent where none of those things occurred or the matter was confused. The 9th further explained, for the statute here of possession of sexually explicit photos of a minor, that “knowingly” applies to both the visual depiction of a minor and the engagement in sexually explicit conduct. The plea colloquy here adequately covered the elements. The 9th affirms the denial of suppression of the cell phones. Any illegality in the initial seizure of the forensic images from the cell phones by the state parole officer was cured by a subsequent issuance of a warrant. The parole officer need not have gotten a warrant to seize the phones as the parolee has diminished expectations of privacy. A warrant was required, and gotten, after parole was revoked. Other challenges were waived.

The decision is here:


2. US v. Singh, No. 18-50423 (5-3-21)(Parker w/Bumatay; Watford concurring and dissenting). The convictions were for using a hawala operation to launder money, conspiring to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, and operating such a business. The hawala operation took drug proceeds from Canada to the United States and then to the Mexican cartels. The 9th affirmed the convictions, finding sufficient evidence to prove that the hawala operation acted to conceal, acted to transfer funds on behalf of the public (as defined even though private), and had the purpose to launder money. The majority looked at the steps and deceptions to conceal. Watford dissented on this point. He agreed that steps were taken to conceal but there was not sufficient evidence to show the defendant was part of the conspiracy with the purpose to launder money. The 9th all agreed the defendant was operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, with a public component. The 9th found no confrontation error or abuse of discretion in limiting cross of a cooperating witness. There was also no plain error for the amendment of the charge when, in the prosecutor’s closing argument, the prosecutor argued that the defendant was operating his own hawala operation rather than part of a larger network.

The decision is here:



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