Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s convictions for tax evasion, unlawful distribution of controlled substances, and health-care fraud, holding that Defendant was fairly tried and lawfully convicted. The Court held (1) the district court did not err in admitting other-acts evidence regarding Defendant’s sexual abuse of his daughter; (2) any error in the other evidentiary rulings disputed by Defendant on appeal were harmless; (3) the district court did not err in refusing to sever the tax evasion counts; (4) Defendant’s challenges to the district court’s jury instructions on the drug-distribution counts were unavailing; and (5) the evidence was sufficient to sustain Defendant’s conviction on the drug-distribution counts. View "United States v. Sabean" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s convictions for tax evasion, unlawful distribution of controlled substances, and health-care fraud, holding that Defendant was fairly tried and lawfully convicted. The Court held (1) the district court did not err in admitting other-acts evidence regarding Defendant’s sexual abuse of his daughter; (2) any error in the other evidentiary rulings disputed by Defendant on appeal were harmless; (3) the district court did not err in refusing to sever the tax evasion counts; (4) Defendant’s challenges to the district court’s jury instructions on the drug-distribution counts were unavailing; and (5) the evidence was sufficient to sustain Defendant’s conviction on the drug-distribution counts. View "United States v. Sabean" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the convictions of co-defendants Doris Morel and Erika Tomasino for conspiracy and multiple fraud-related counts based on their participation in a multi-year tax-return fraud scheme. On appeal, Morel raised only a Batson jury claim. Tomasino adopted the Batson claim and raised four claims of her own. The First Circuit denied the claims, holding (1) the Batson challenge patently lacked merit; (2) the government produced sufficient evidence to support Tomasino’s conviction for aggravated identity theft; (2) the district court did not err in giving the jury a Pinkerton instruction; (3) the district court did not commit clear error in admitting against Tomasino incriminating statements made by Morel; and (4) the district court properly admitted testimony from IRS Special Agent Matthew Amsden. View "United States v. Morel" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s convictions for federal program bribery, lying to a federal agent, and obstructing justice. The court held that, contrary to Defendant’s arguments on appeal, (1) the district court’s jury instructions did not effect a constructive amendment of the indictment on the bribery count; (2) the erroneous inclusion of a unanimity instruction in the jury charge on the particular benefits included within the “stream of benefits” alleged by the government on the bribery count did not prejudice Defendant; and (3) the court did not err in admitting evidence of prior bad acts and adequately instructed the jury about the testimony of immunized cooperating witnesses. View "United States v. Lopez-Cotto" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s convictions for federal program bribery, lying to a federal agent, and obstructing justice. The court held that, contrary to Defendant’s arguments on appeal, (1) the district court’s jury instructions did not effect a constructive amendment of the indictment on the bribery count; (2) the erroneous inclusion of a unanimity instruction in the jury charge on the particular benefits included within the “stream of benefits” alleged by the government on the bribery count did not prejudice Defendant; and (3) the court did not err in admitting evidence of prior bad acts and adequately instructed the jury about the testimony of immunized cooperating witnesses. View "United States v. Lopez-Cotto" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s convictions for conspiring to defraud the United States and four counts of wire fraud and the sentence imposed by the district court, thus rejecting Defendant’s arguments on appeal. Defendant was convicted of knowingly procuring government contracts for his construction company. The district court sentenced Defendant to thirty months’ imprisonment and entered an order of forfeiture, in the form of a money judgment, in an amount totaling more than $6.7 million, which the court determined was the amount of the proceeds of Defendant’s crimes. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions; (2) even assuming the prosecutor’s statements made during closing arguments were improper and deliberate, the district court did not abuse its discretion in ruling that its instruction likely cured any prejudice and that any surviving prejudice did not affect the jury’s verdict; and (3) there was no error in the district court’s forfeiture order and money judgment. View "United States v. Gorski" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant’s motion for a new trial in his criminal case pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 33. Appellant was convicted of antitrust conspiracy. The First Circuit affirmed Appellant’s conviction and sentence. Appellant later moved for a new trial based on freshly discovered evidence, arguing that the government offended the due process guarantees memorialized in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). The district court denied the motion, reasoning that the earlier disclosure of the freshly discovered evidence would not have changed the outcome of the criminal case. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court’s finding that Appellant suffered no cognizable prejudice from the delayed disclosure of the information at issue was not in error. View "United States v. Peake" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Appellant’s convictions of securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit both. The convictions arose from Appellant’s writing of false opinion letters so that his two co-conspirators could sell stock to the public in a “pump and dump” scheme. On appeal, Appellant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions in light of his interpretation of section 3(a)(9) of the Securities Act and that the district court constructively amended the indictment in its instructions to the jury. The First Circuit held (1) even if Appellant’s interpretation of section 3(a)(9) was correct, the evidence was sufficient to support his convictions; and (2) Appellant’s constructive amendment claim was without merit. View "United States v. Weed" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the sentence imposed on Defendant after Defendant pleaded guilty to criminal charges based on her conduct during the court of a large-scale fraudulent financial scheme, which she led for five years. The district court sentenced Defendant to 135 months’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and to twenty-four months’ imprisonment for one count of aggravated identity theft and ordered that Defendant serve these terms consecutively, for a total term of 159 months’ imprisonment. On appeal, the First Circuit held that Defendant failed to carry her heavy burden that her within-the-range sentence was unreasonable. View "United States v. Castrillon-Sanchez" on Justia Law