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Criminal Law

4th Cir.: Failure to raise appellate issue was ineffective assistance (access required)

It was unreasonable for the defendant’s prior appellate counsel not to argue that his money laundering convictions were invalid because of a “merger” issue. Thus, the district court should not have denied the defendant’s habeas claim based on ineffective assistance ...

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Va. Cir.: Marijuana odor not supported by body cam footage (access required)

Officers’ recollection that a strong marijuana odor emanated from a vehicle wasn’t consistent with video of their search: The car doors were closed, the marijuana discovered was raw and enclosed, and the officers never mentioned the odor before the search. ...

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CAV: Defendant liable for co-conspirator’s gun display (access required)

Evidence was sufficient to prove that the defendant conspired with his co-defendant to collect a debt through intimidation, including with a firearm. Background Appellant Jahsaad Livingston was tried jointly with his co-defendant, Therin Mason Miller-Jones. For several months in 2015, ...

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CAV: Continuance for counsel’s absence chargeable to defendant (access required)

A continuance ordered due to the hospitalization of defense counsel tolled the speedy trial deadline, because the reason for the delay was unanticipated and beyond the control of the Commonwealth. Background Appellee Calvin Craighead was indicted for two counts of ...

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4th Cir.: Court won’t rehear habeas retroactivity issue (access required)

The government was denied rehearing as to a habeas petitioner, previously granted permission to seek relief under the savings clause contained in 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Statement respecting denial (Agee, J.) The issues in this case are of significant national ...

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4th Cir.: Enhancement improper without “overt act” predicates (access required)

The district court erred in sentencing the defendant as a career offender because his prior convictions for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine are not controlled substance offenses for career offender purposes. No career-offender predicates Appellant ...

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4th Cir.: Law covering “de minimis” theft no grounds for removal (access required)

Because not all of the offenses encompassed under Maryland’s theft statute qualify as crimes involving moral turpitude, the Board of Immigration Appeals erred in concluding that the petitioner committed such crimes and was thus ineligible for cancellation of removal. Background ...

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4th Cir.: Scam “reloader” targeted vulnerable victims (access required)

The district court did not err in applying a “vulnerable victim” sentencing enhancement to a defendant who worked at a fraudulent telemarketing center as a “reloader,” targeting individuals who had already fallen for the scheme at least once, in the ...

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