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Author Archives: Deborah Elkins

Criminal – Restitution – Kidnapping & Murder Accessory – MVRA (access required)

A sentencing court erred when it held two defendants jointly and severally liable as accessories after the fact for additional restitution of $1.4 million to the estate of an 18-year-old kidnapping and murder victim, who as a member of the ...

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Criminal – Prosecutor Closing Argument – Witness Bolstering (access required)

A prosecutor’s use during closing argument of the informal, “I’m convinced” and “I think,” instead of “I submit” or “I contend,” did not constitute improper vouching for a government witness, and the trial court did not err in denying a ...

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Criminal – Felon In Possession – Prior Convictions – Violent Felonies (access required)

A felon with a firearm should have been sentenced as an Armed Career Criminal, the 4th Circuit says, because, contrary to the district court’s holding, a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision did not effectively overrule 4th Circuit law that says ...

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Municipal – Police Commissioner Firing – Reinstatement (access required)

The 4th Circuit upholds dismissal of a suit filed by the former Baltimore police commissioner and two top deputies who allege that, despite a contract that allowed the commissioner’s discharge without cause, the defendant mayor allegedly failed to fire the ...

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Criminal – Plea Agreement Breach – Sentencing Recommendation – Plain Error (access required)

The 4th Circuit reverses as plain error a district court’s sentence for a drug defendant because the government breached a plea agreement by failing to recommend at sentencing a two-level “minor participant” reduction in defendant’s offense level. Here, the government ...

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4th Circuit revives two discrimination suits

It’s “Happy Holidays” for a couple of employment discrimination plaintiffs whose cases were revived by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in recent days. A former Unisys Corporation employee said the trial court was too quick to pull the ...

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Designation of beneficiary disputed in insurance policy – $30,000 Verdict (access required)

Eugene and Donna Montgomery were married in 1965. On March 8, 1993, Woodmen of the World issued a life insurance policy in the name of Donna Montgomery with Eugene Montgomery as the beneficiary. There was a corresponding policy issued in ...

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