Posts Tagged ‘Criminal Attorney New Orleans’

Peugh V. United States- United States Supreme Court denies retrospective application of more severe sentencing guidelines

Posted by admin on June 13th, 2013

Subject:	Supreme Court holds Ex Post Facto Clause prohibits
retrospective application of advisory guidelines

In an opinion by Justice Sotomayor, the Supreme Court held today in Peugh
v. United States, No. 12-62, that “[a] retrospective increase in the
Guidelines range applicable to a defendant creates a sufficient risk of a
higher sentence to constitute an ex post facto violation.” The Seventh
Circuit's precedent in United States v. Demaree, 459 F. 3d 791 (7th Cir.
2006), is reversed.

In holding that the Ex Post Facto Clause is violated when a defendant is
sentenced under a more severe version of the guidelines in effect at the
time of sentencing rather than the version in effect at the time of the
offense, the Court points to the continuing role of the guidelines as the
"initial benchmark" and "starting point" in the district court, the various
procedural hurdles to a non-guideline sentence in the district court, the
presumption of reasonableness of a within-guideline sentence in the court
of appeals, and appellate review of a district court’s procedure. All of
these “gent[le] checks” on the district court’s discretion, it says, make a
guideline sentence more likely, absent a reason for a non-guideline
sentence: “That a district court may ultimately sentence a given defendant
outside the Guidelines range does not deprive the Guidelines of force as
the framework for sentencing.”

As evidence that the "procedural measures" adopted by the federal
sentencing system have the effect of "influencing the sentences imposed by
judges," the Court points to empirical data showing that, since 2007, the
majority of sentences, in the aggregate, are within the guidelines or below
the guidelines based on a government motion.

Dissenting opinions by Justice Thomas, joined in part by Justices Alito,
C.J. Roberts, and Scalia, and by Justice Alito, joined by Justice Scalia.

Opinion is here:

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New Jersey Teen Accused of Torching House Due in Court

Posted by admin on October 3rd, 2012

A New Jersey teenager charged with attempted murder and arson for allegedly setting a fire at her family’s house is due in court.

The 15-year-old faces a hearing in family court in Gloucester County on Monday. Her name is being withheld because she is a juvenile.

Authorities say the Saturday morning fire was set with gasoline. Most of the damage was contained to the second floor of the single-family house.

The teen and six other family members were injured, including two who were taken to a burn center in Pennsylvania with internal burns.

The suspect is being held at the Camden County Juvenile Detention Center.

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Kansas City Law firm owner indicted on first degree murder charges

Posted by admin on October 3rd, 2012

The owner of a Kansas City law firm was indicted Friday on first-degree murder and forgery charges, but authorities would not confirm whether it’s related to the 2010 shooting death of the attorney’s father.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that Susan Elizabeth Van Note, 44, of the Kansas City suburb Lee’s Summit, was arrested shortly after the indictment and that the charges are in connection to an investigation into a 2010 homicide in Camden County. The release does not name the homicide victim.

Van Note’s father, 67-year-old accountant William Van Note, was shot in October 2010 along with his companion, Sharon Dickson, 59. Dickson died in the shooting at their Sunrise Beach home at the Lake of the Ozarks in Camden County. Van Note died four days later in a hospital in Boone County.

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United States Supreme Court to hear Drunk Driving Case

Posted by admin on October 3rd, 2012

The Supreme Court will decide when law enforcement officers must get a warrant before ordering a blood test on an unwilling drunken-driving suspect.

The issue has divided federal and state courts around the country and the justices on Tuesday agreed to take up a case involving a disputed blood test from Missouri.

In siding with the defendant in the case, the Missouri Supreme Court said police need a warrant to take a suspect’s blood except in special circumstances when a delay could threaten a life or destroy potential evidence.

Other courts have ruled that dissipation of alcohol in the blood is reason enough for police to call for a blood test without first getting a warrant.

The Missouri case was one of six new cases accepted for argument in front of the Supreme Court. The new term begins Monday and the cases probably will be argued in January.

The American Civil Liberties Union, representing Tyler McNeely, said the arresting officer made no effort to obtain a warrant and didn’t think he needed one, not that he feared a delay would lower the level of alcohol in McNeely’s blood. The ACLU said the case was not a good one for resolving complex issues of science and law.

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United States Supreme Court Grants Two Pro Se Appeals

Posted by admin on October 1st, 2012

Well-heeled clients pay tens of thousands of dollars to hit the legal jackpot — Supreme Court review of their appeals. But on Tuesday, the court decided to hear cases filed by two people who couldn’t afford or didn’t bother to hire an attorney.

One was written in pencil and submitted by an inmate at a federal prison in Pennsylvania. The other was filed by a man with no telephone living on Guam.

Neither case seems destined to join the ranks of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark 1960s case filed by a prisoner with no lawyer that established a criminal defendant’s right to a lawyer. Both show, however, that when the court is looking to resolve finicky legal issues and the right case shows up, it doesn’t matter whether the author of the appeal wears a natty suit or prison garb.

Longtime Supreme Court practitioner Tom Goldstein called the granting of two such lawyerless cases at the same time “unheard of.” But both cases chosen by the justices will help resolve the ability of civilians to sue the government over claims of improper actions of federal and military employees on the job.

Kim Lee Millbrook, a prisoner at the federal prison in Lewisburg, Pa., sued the government after accusing prison guards at the Special Management Unit of sexually assaulting him in May 2010. Prison officials said Millbrook’s claim was unsubstantiated.

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Arkansas First State in the South to Uphold Medical Marijuana

Posted by admin on October 1st, 2012

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a proposed ballot measure that, if successful, would make the state the first in the South to legalize medical marijuana.

Justices rejected a challenge by a coalition of conservative groups who had asked the court to block the proposed initiated act from the November ballot or order the state to not count any votes cast on the issue.

The measure would allow patients with qualifying conditions to buy marijuana from nonprofit dispensaries with a doctor’s recommendation. The proposal acknowledges that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but the Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values argued that it doesn’t adequately explain that approved users could still face federal prosecution.

“We hold that it is an adequate and fair representation without misleading tendencies or partisan coloring,” the court wrote. “Therefore, the act is proper for inclusion on the ballot at the general election on Nov. 6, 2012, and the petition is therefore denied.”

Arkansas will be the first Southern state to put the medical marijuana question to voters. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized it in some fashion. Massachusetts voters are also expected to vote on the issue this fall, while the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled a medical marijuana initiative can’t appear on that state’s ballot.

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High Court Will Not Stop Oklahoma Execution

Posted by admin on October 1st, 2012

The Supreme Court won’t overturn a death sentence for a man convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and her infant daughter in Oklahoma.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Raymond Eugene Johnson. Johnson was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder by a Tulsa County jury in 2009 in the June 2007 deaths of Brooke Whitaker, 24, and her 7-month-old daughter, Kya Whitaker. Prosecutors said Johnson beat Brooke Whitaker in the head with a hammer, set her on fire and left her and the baby to burn in their gasoline-doused home.

Oklahoma courts have refused to stop his execution, and the high court now also has refused to intervene.

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High Court Rejects Challenge to Development of National Forrest

Posted by admin on October 1st, 2012

The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal challenging a federal rule that bars development on 50 million acres of roadless areas in national forests.

The justices said Monday they will leave in place a federal appeals court decision that upheld the so-called roadless rule that took effect late in the presidency of Bill Clinton.

The state of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association said closing so much forest land to development has had serious consequences for residents of Western states and the logging, mining and drilling industries.

The challenge centered on the contention that that U.S. Forest Service essentially declared forests to be wilderness areas, a power that rests with Congress under the 1964 Wilderness Act. The Forest Service manages more than 190 million acres of land.

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Court Will Not Hear Anti-Gay Marriage Appeal

Posted by admin on October 1st, 2012

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from a national anti-gay marriage group that tried to thwart Maine’s campaign disclosure law requiring it to release its donor list.

The high court turned aside an appeal from the National Organization for Marriage, which donated $1.9 million to a political action committee that helped repeal Maine’s same-sex marriage law.

Maine’s campaign disclosure law requires groups that raise or spend more than $5,000 to influence elections to register and disclose donors. NOM contends that releasing the donor list would stymie free speech and subject donors to harassment, but the lower court refused to throw out the law.

Voters repealed Maine’s gay marriage law in 2009, but it’s on the ballot again this November.

For now, the 2009 donor list remains under wraps.

The state ethics commission is still investigating whether NOM falls under the state’s ballot question committee requirements, said its executive director, Jonathan Wayne.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is an important development, but no decision has been reached by the commission regarding the National Organization for Marriage’s 2009 activities,” he said.

Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage, which supports the gay marriage proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot, said gay marriage supporters don’t care so much about who’s on NOM’s list of donors but rather want the organization to play by the same rules as everybody else.

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