Archive | burden of proof

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Burdens of Proof & Restitution Under The MVRA

Yesterday the Second Circuit issued a short opinion concerning the burdens of proof for modifying restitution orders under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA), 18 U.S.C. §§ 3663A & 3664. Specifically, the panel held that the district court acted within its discretion in requiring the defendant to prove that a victim recovered money in civil litigation “for the same loss” caused by the defendant. Id. § 3664(j)(2) (requiring that a restitution order be reduced by the amount of such recoveries). The opinion in United States v. Smathers, No. 16-2394 (Kearse, Cabranes, Wesley) (per curiam) (appeal from Hellerstein, J., SDNY), is available here.

Mr. Smathers, a former AOL employee, was ordered to pay $84,000 in restitution to AOL in connection with his conviction for selling the company’s customer list to be used for spam. Through his attorney, Mr. Smathers requested that the district court determine whether this restitution order …

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Categories: burden of proof, MVRA, restitution

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Saturday, January 19th, 2008


United States v. Glover, No. 05-5047-cr (2d Cir. January 4, 2008) (Pooler, Raggi, CJJ, McMahon, DJ)

At this firearms trial, the judge charged the jury, over objection, that “the crucial, hard-core question” to answer was, “Where do you find the truth?” He also instructed: “The only triumph in any case, whether it be civil or criminal, is whether or not the truth [has] triumphed.” One defendant was acquitted; the other was not and appealed.

The circuit affirmed. It agreed that these instructions, in isolation, would be error because they do not ensure that the jury will have a correct understanding of the presumption of innocence or the government’s burden of proof. In addition, the court strongly discouraged their use in the future: “[T]o the extent that a trial court thinks it appropriate in a criminal case to identify for the jury a single ‘crucial, hard-core question,’ that question should be …

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Categories: burden of proof, jury charge, presumption of innocence, Uncategorized

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