Archive | statutory construction

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Second Circuit rejects Sixth Circuit’s Interpretation of 26 U.S. C. § 7212(a)’s “Omnibus Clause”

The Second Circuit decided the case of United States v. Marinello (Docket No. 15-2224) on Friday. You can see the 44-page decision here.  The case involved small businessman, Carlo Marinello, who did not keep corporate records or file personal or corporate income tax returns for nearly two decades. Marinello was convicted by a jury in 2014 in the Western District of New York on nine counts of tax-related offenses. In his appeal, he raised three grounds. I’ll review two of them here.  First, he challenged his conviction under the “omnibus clause” of 18 U.S.C. § 7212(a), which imposes criminal liability on one who “in any other way corruptly . . . obstructs or impedes, or endeavors to obstruct or impede, the due administration of this title.” In making his argument, Marinello relied on the Sixth Circuit case, United States v. Kassouf, 144 F.3d 952 (6th Cir. 1998), which …


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Categories: knowledge, overbreadth, statutory construction, statutory interpretation, tax evasion

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Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Second Circuit Updates – June 29, 2016

Today there is a short opinion discussing the meaning of “aggravated felony” in the context of a removal proceeding. And there is a summary order in a criminal case.

In Weiland v. Lynch, No. 14-3631-ag (Circuit Judges:  Parker, Lohier, and Carney), the Circuit rejects the petitioner’s argument, in his fight against removal to Germany, that his conviction for possession of child pornography under the New York Penal Law (§263.11) did not qualify as an aggravated felony under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”). His argument was that the New York offense was not an offense “described in” the analogous federal crime because the New York offense lacks an interstate commerce element that is present in the analogous federal child pornography statute. See 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43) (defining aggravated felony as an offense “described in” certain federal laws).  The Circuit relied on this years’ Supreme Court decision in Torres v.


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Categories: aggravated felony, statutory construction

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Friday, June 17th, 2016

Second Circuit Updates – June 17, 2016

One major decision out of the Second Circuit today, United States v. Rowland (Docket 15-985). It’s a good read for those interested in statutory construction and interpretation. A brief overview of the facts: The defendant, John Rowland was once governor of Connecticut. After being released from federal custody following a 2004 conviction for corruption and a kickback scandal, Rowland attempted to get back in the political game by offering his consulting services to Connecticut politicians running for federal office. When the politicians, wanting his advice, but not an association with him, raised their concerns about the optics, Rowland suggested that their respective companies and non-profits hire him as a consultant. As the government alleged, though, in reality he would offer advice to their campaigns.

One politician declined his offered, going so far as to rip up the proposed contract Rowland provided that would have him work for the politician’s non-profit. …


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Categories: fraud, statutory construction, statutory interpretation

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Saturday, September 8th, 2012

The Cartridge Family

United States v. Graham, No. 09-2819-cr (2d Cir. August 15, 2012) (Cabranes, Livingston, Carney, CJJ)

Title 18, U.S.C. § 844(h) makes it a separate offense to use “an explosive” to commit a federal felony. During an attempted extortion of one of his fellow-gang members – a dispute over some robbery proceeds – defendant Graham fired a cartridge from his 9-millimeter semi-automatic into the ground. A jury convicted defendant Graham under this section, amongst other offenses; his 50-year sentence included the ten-year mandatory consecutive sentence that the statute requires.

On appeal, however, the circuit agreed that the single cartridge in his semi-automatic handgun did not constitute an “explosive.” It reversed the conviction on the § 844(h) count and remanded the case for resentencing.

Superficially, it would seem like firing a bullet might well trigger the statute (bad pun, I know). Section 844(j) defines “explosive” for purposes of § 844(h) as, …


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Categories: explosives, firearms, statutory construction, Uncategorized

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Saturday, November 6th, 2010

It’s Not In The Timing

United States v. Davis, No. 09-3636-cr (2d Cir. November 5, 2010) (Newman, Raggi, CJJ, Rakoff, DJ)

Williams Davis was convicted, after a jury trial, of inter alia, producing child pornography, and was sentenced to 120 years’ imprisonment. This opinion address the novel issue of whether the defendant must know that the pornography will be transmitted in interstate commerce at the time he produced it.

This was an unusually ugly case. Davis, who had been convicted in 1991 of sexually assaulting his daughter and niece, and in 2007 of kidnapping and raping a twelve-year-old girl, also sexually abused his step-daughter in 2006, and apparently photographed some of the activity. When his wife found out about the abuse she evicted him from their apartment, but Davis left behind a safe. Eventually, the wife gave the safe to police officers, who opened it and found CD’s containing the child pornography.

Davis was convicted …


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Categories: child pornography, interstate commerce, statutory construction, Uncategorized

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