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Tag: Court of Appeals

Bernie Kerik Gets Bad News: Appeals Court Upholds Sentence

Bernie Kerik/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-NY Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who once was considered for the top spot at the  Department of Homeland Security in the Bush administration, got some bad news Thursday.

The 2nd Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld his four year sentence, saying the judge was fair, the Associated Press reported. His attorneys had argued the judge was too harsh and gave a sentence that surpassed the three years called for under the sentencing guidelines.

Kerik, 55, who is being housed in a federal prison in Maryland,  pleaded guilty in 2009 to tax fraud, making a false statement on a loan application and lying to the White House, which was doing a background on him so he could become Homeland Security chief.

AP reported that the sentencing judge, Stephen Robinson in White Plains, N.Y., was bothered by Kerik’s behavior, and noted that he lied the President to get a cabinet post.

Kerik’s attorney Andrew Shapiro said, according to AP: “We’re very disappointed by the ruling and considering our next steps.”

To read more click here.

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FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICE ACT NEWS

Legal Wrangling in ex-Cong. Jefferson’s Conviction Continues; Oral Arguments Set for May

file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Nearly six years after the FBI launched a sting and 1 1/2 years after he was convicted on public corruption charges, the legal wrangling goes on and ex-New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson remains a free man.

The latest: Oral arguments for Jefferson’s appeal in the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., have been set for the week of May 10, according to Bruce Alpert of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The paper reports that, according to experts, a three-judge panel could issue a ruling by the summer, but that’s not likely to resolve the matter considering the losing side will appeal that ruling.

Jefferson was convicted in August 2009 of 11 of 16 corruption-related counts and was subsequently hit with a 13 year sentence. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of Alexandria, Va., has allowed Jefferson to remain free pending his appeal.

The paper also reported that the 4th Circuit granted a Justice Department request to allow its attorneys 21,000 words in the appellate brief instead of the normal 14,000 word limit.

Oral Arguments Delayed in ex-Rep. William Jefferson’s Appeal

William J. Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Convicted ex-Rep. William Jefferson of money-in-the-freezer fame has had his fair share of disputes with the federal government.

But this time around he’s got to be pleased with the government, which, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, has asked and gotten more time to file briefs in the case.

After all, he remains free pending his appeal on his 2009 conviction on 11 of 16 public corruption counts. The judge sentenced him to 13 years.

The more delays, the longer he’s assured of staying out of prison in a case that began in 2005 with an FBI sting.

Oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals were set to begin the week of March 22, Bruce Alpert of the Times-Picayune reported.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. announced the delay, Alpert reported, to give prosecutors another month to file briefs, the Picayune reported.

The briefs must be filed by March 10 and Jefferson’s lawyers will have 10 days to respond.

Still, the Picayune reported that a ruling could possibly come by summer.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Imprisoned Wife of Rep. John Conyers Wants to Withdraw Guilty Plea for Corruption

Monica Conyers/facebook

Monica Conyers/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Detroit City Council member Monica Conyers, the corrupt wife of Rep. John Conyers, who is serving time in a West Virginia federal prison, is appealing a ruling by the sentencing judge, who refused to let her withdraw her guilty plea before sentencing, the Detroit News reports.

Her lawyer claims in papers filed with the Court of Appeals that Conyers was unable to resist pressure to plead guilty from her lawyer, the government and the news media, the News reported. She has a law degree, but was inexperienced in the criminal system the court papers said.

“That inexperience coupled with the intense public scrutiny of the matter caused her to momentarily surrender to the pressure to plead,” her lawyer Douglas R. Mullkoff wrote, according to the News. He is asking that the case be returned to the U.S. District Court for a hearing.

Conyers, a divisive figure on the city council, was sentenced to 37 months in prison. She pleaded guilty in June 2009 to taking at least $6,000 in cash bribes.

Justice Dept. Wants Appeals Court to Reconsider Warrantless GPS Issue

gpsBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The issue of law enforcement using warrantless GPS is still simmering.

The latest: The Justice Department on Monday asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. to overturn a ruling by a three-judge panel, which said law enforcement must get a warrant when using a GPS to track a suspect, the BLT:The Blog of the Legal Times reports.

The three-judge panel ruled that authorities violated the privacy of Antoine Jones, the co-owner of a nightclub in Washington, by using the GPS to link him to a  suspected Maryland drug house, the blog reported. The court vacated his conviction and life sentence.

Federal prosecutors have cited a 1983 Supreme Court ruling that said a person traveling on a public road should have no expectation of privacy, the blog wrote.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Smith wrote in the petition for a rehearing that the ruling”raises enormous practical problems for law enforcement,” the blog reported.

“The decision leaves unresolved precisely when the monitoring of a GPS device becomes a ‘search’ under the Fourth Amendment, and implicitly calls into question common and important practices such as sustained visual surveillance and photographic surveillance of public places,” Smith wrote, according to the blog.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Appeals Court Admonishes Wisc. Fed Judge for Hitler Remark

hitlerBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

More than six decades later, Adolph Hitler’s name still stirs up trouble.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago admonished U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa of eastern Wisconsin for comparing a convicted drug dealer Jose Figueroa’s love of family to Adolf Hitler’s love for his dog.

The Appeals Court, which said the judge’s comments were odd, ordered that Figueroa be re-sentenced, AP reported. He had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for heading up a drug conspiracy.

The judge’s comments came after Figueroa asked for leniency in sentencing because of his love for his family, the AP reported.

Randa responded, according to AP: “Hitler was admired by his family … loved his dog. Yet he killed 6 million Jews.”

Appeals Court Says Rep. John Conyer’s Wife Must Head to Prison

Monica Conyers/facebook

Monica Conyers/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Detroit City Council member Monica Conyers — wife of Rep. John Conyers — won’t be able to delay the inevitable.

The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that she can’t stay out of prison pending her appeal, which centers on U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn’s decision not to allow her to withdraw her guilty plea on public corruption charges on the day of sentencing, the Detroit News reported.

Conyers, who was a divisive figure on the city council, is supposed to turn her self in by Friday to start serving her 37-month sentence, the News reported. The Detroit Free Press reported that she is scheduled to turn herself in by 2 p.m. to begin serving her sentence in a federal prison in West Virginia.

She pleaded guilty in June 2009 to taking at least $6,000 in bribes involving a sludge hauling contract that was before the city council.

The Court of Appeals ruled that Conyer’s legal challenge did not raise a substantial question of law, the News reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Plan to Call 3 Appeals Court Judges as Witnesses in Retrial of Right Wing Radio Personality

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The retrial next week in Brooklyn of right wing web radio talk show host Hal Turner should get interesting.

The National Journal reports that federal prosecutors plan this time to call as witnesses three Court of Appeals judges from the 7th Circuit in Chicago who were the targets of Turner’s venemous verbal attacks on the Internet. The first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked.

The Journal reports the three judges expected to testify include Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, Judge Richard Posner and Judge William Bauer, a former U.S. attorney in Chicago.

Authorities chargd Turner after he he posted Internet messages saying the judges “deserve to be killed” for upholding a Chicago handgun ban.

To read more click here.