Monday, September 05, 2022

1. Nguyen v. Frauenheim, No. 20-56284 (8-22-22)(M. Smith w/Bade & VanDyke). The 9th affirms denial of a habeas petition, finding no Batson violation. The Batson challenge went to gender and mixed race. The 9th reiterates that Teague bars new rules being established in habeas. As such, looking at a class of Hispanic women would be a new class (Hispanic and gender). There was also no Batson violation as to the Hispanic juror.


2. US v. Ramirez-Ramirez, No. 21-10127 (8-22-22)(Paez w/Hawkins & Watford). Summary by Ryan Moore, AFPD (Appeals), D. AZ, who argued the case: “The CA9 holds on plain error that the 6A public-trial right applies to the phase of announcing guilt in a bench trial. Only the CA2 so held previously. The district court announced its findings of guilt about a week after the bench trial only in writing, while the defendant sat in jail. The panel held that the 6A requires findings of guilt be made in open court, even when the factfinder is the judge. Although the panel also held that the district court’s later reiteration of its findings at sentencing satisfied the 6A’s open-court requirement, it nonetheless remanded for specific findings of fact because the district court had denied as untimely a request for specific findings made after the written announcement of guilt, which was “legally insufficient.” Unfortunately, the plain error standard doomed what the panel called “a strong argument” that the guilt by email scheme also violated the rights to be present under the 5A and Rule 43(a). And we really should have gotten a new trial for the 6A violation, in my opinion, because a mere reiteration at sentencing of a decision made long after the judge has moved on is not a substitute for the moment of truth when the judge faces a defendant in trial and makes/announces the decision in open court. But the caselaw isn’t great on the remedy for this structural error and a new trial was always a longshot.


3. US v. Jaimez, No. 19-50253 (8-23-22)(Bress w/Fitzwater; Concurrence/dissent by Owens). The 9th affirms convictions for RICO, money laundering, and conspiracy. There was sufficient evidence. Owens dissents on money laundering, arguing the defendant, a low level “foot soldier,” did not know the purpose of the money laundering actions was to conceal financial transactions. 


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