Criminal Defense Attorney in U.S. Federal & Florida and Illinois Courts

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28 U.S.C. § 455 – Judge’s Failure to Recuse Himself Leads to REVERSAL

US v. Jose Herrera-Valdez, No. 14-3534 Jose Gustavo Herrera-Valdez was prosecuted for illegal reentry after being deported. Before trial, he filed a motion to disqualify the District Court Judge from presiding over his prosecution because the judge served as the District Counsel for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) at the time Herrera-Valdez was deported.  Because we…

U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1 Loss Amount: Money Paid Back to Victim Before Fraud Detected NOT Counted

US v. Christian Peterson.  No. 14-3716. Before running into legal trouble, Christian Peterson, an entrepreneur doing business in Madison, Wisconsin, owned several manufacturing and realestate development firms. He misused corporate finances, frequently making unauthorized intercompany loans and occasionally using corporate funds to pay off his personal gambling debts. Eventually all of his business ventures failed,…

Loss Amount Calculation: Money Paid Back to Victim Before Fraud Detected NOT Counted at Sentencing

USA v. Christian Peterson.  No. 14-3716. Before running into legal trouble, Christian Peterson, an entrepreneur doing business in Madison, Wisconsin, owned several manufacturing and realestate development firms. He misused corporate finances, frequently making unauthorized intercompany loans and occasionally using corporate funds to pay off his personal gambling debts. Eventually all of his business ventures failed,…

Government’s Pretrial Seizure of Defendant’s Untainted Assets NOT Allowed

Sila Luis v. US,  No. 14-419.  (United States Supreme Court March 30, 2016) A federal statute provides that a court may freeze before trial certain assets belonging to a criminal defendant accused of violations of federal health care or banking laws. See 18 U. S. C. §1345. Those assets include: (1) property “obtained as a result…

Supreme Court Ends Government’s Illegal Use of Pretrial Asset Forfeiture

Sila Luis v. US,  No. 14-419.  (United States Supreme Court March 30, 2016) A federal statute provides that a court may freeze before trial certain assets belonging to a criminal defendant accused of violations of federal health care or banking laws. See 18 U. S. C. §1345. Those assets include: (1) property “obtained as a result…

Polling Jury After Verdict: Dissenting Juror Impermissibly Coerced Leads to Reversal.

  USA v. LEMUREL E. WILLIAMS, No. 15-1194 Lemurel Williams was convicted of being a felon in possession of a gun.  We agree with Williams’s that a new trial is needed because the totality of the circumstances regarding the jury’s verdict was impermissibly coercive. After three hours of deliberating, the jury returned a guilty verdict,…

Practice Tip: Always Poll That Jury!

US v. Lemurel Williams.  15-1194 (7th Cir. 2016).  Lemurel Williams was convicted of being a felon in possession of a gun.  We agree with Williams’s that a new trial is needed because the totality of the circumstances regarding the jury’s verdict was impermissibly coercive. After three hours of deliberating, the jury returned a guilty verdict, which…

Residential Drug Abuse Program – BOP Changes Make Allow Greater Inmate Participation

SUMMARY: The Bureau of Prisons (Bureau) revised the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program (RDAP) regulations to allow greater inmate participation in the program and positively impact recidivism rates. DATES: This rule is effective on May 26, 2016. 550.55(b) Inmates not Eligible for Early Release. As an exercise of the Director’s discretion, the following categories of…

Expunging Your Federal Conviction – Rules You Need to Know

U.S. v PFEIFFER, Case No. 04 CR 793, U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division. (Editor’s note:  This is a District Court decision NOT 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.) April 7, 2016 In 2007, Brian Pfeiffer pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, Ecstasy. Pfeiffer now moves to expunge the records…

Search and Seizure Traffic Stop – Suspicion of Texting While Driving Is Not Enough. Case Dismissed.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. PANIAGUA-GARCIA, No. 15-2540 An Indiana statute forbids drivers to use a telecommunications device (a cellphone) to type, transmit, or read a text message or an electronic-mail message, Ind. Code § 9-21-8-59(a). All other uses of cellphones by drivers are allowed.  An Indiana police officer, in the course of passing a car driven by Paniagua-Garcia on…