Archive | Apprendi

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Failure to Charge Loss Amount in 18 U.S.C. 641 Case Harmless Error

In United States v. Lee, 15-458, the Second Circuit affirmed a conviction under 18 U.S.C. 641 and the 30-month sentence that followed.

Relying in part on Apprendi, the Court concluded that a loss amount in excess of $1000 is an element of a felony offense under Section 641 and that, to allege a felony, the indictment should allege that the loss amount exceed $1000.  In this case, however, where the pretrial discovery and the trial included “overwhelming” evidence that hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of government property had been stolen, the violation of the Fifth Amendment’s Grand Jury Clause was harmless.  Opinion at 3.  The deficient indictment gave Lee “specific notice of the nature of the offense and the core of the criminal conduct to be proven at trial.”  Opinion at 22.…

Posted By
Categories: Apprendi, grand jury, indictment

Continue Reading
Friday, October 29th, 2010

No Angry Men

Portolatin v. Graham, No. 07-1599-pr (2d Cir. October 18, 2010) (en banc)
Earlier this year, a Second Circuit panel held that New York’s persistent felony offender (PFO) statute violated the right to a jury trial under Apprendi. See The Persistents of Apprendi, posted April 9, 2010. In this en banc opinion, authored by Judge Wesley, the full court changed course and held that the PFO scheme does not, in fact, violate Apprendi. The members of the original panel, along with Judge Pooler, dissented.
The PFO scheme provides for dramatic sentencing enhancements for certain recidivists, and those that are deemed PFO’s can be subject to a sentence far greater than statutory maximum they would otherwise face. Application of the PFO statute is a two-step process. The first step requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant has two or more qualifying prior felonies. Once this is

Posted By
Categories: Apprendi, jury trial, recidivism, Uncategorized

Continue Reading
Sunday, September 5th, 2010

PC World

United States v. Pfaff, No. 09-1702-cr (2d Cir. August 27, 2010)(Jacobs, Winter, McLaughlin, CJJ) (per curiam)

Apprendi rears its head once again in this latest per curiam, this time with respect to a fine.

A jury convicted John Larson, one of the defendants in the KPMG tax shelter case, of twelve counts of tax evasion under 26 U.S.C. 7201, but did not make a finding as to the pecuniary loss Larson caused or the gain he derived from the conduct. At sentencing, the district judge found a “gross pecuniary loss” of more than $100 million. Since 18 U.S.C. § 3571(d) authorizes a fine of up to twice the loss, the judge determined that the statutory maximum fine would be more than $200 million. The court ultimately imposed a $6 million fine.

While no Larson made no Apprendi objection, the circuit found plain error and vacated the fine. Section 3571(b) establishes …

Posted By
Categories: Apprendi, fine, Uncategorized

Continue Reading
Friday, April 9th, 2010

The Persistents of Apprendi

Besser v. Walsh, No. 05-4375-pr (2d Cir. March 31, 2010) (Winter, Sack, CJJ, Murtha, DJ)

While the blog does not usually cover habeas cases, this one is important, as it invalidates New York State’s discretionary felony persistent offender sentencing scheme. The decision involves five separate cases heard “in tandem,” which is what the circuit calls cases that present the same legal issue that are heard together but not formally consolidated.

In New York, a first-time felon usually faces an indeterminate sentencing range based on the grade of the offense of conviction. If the court finds that a defendant sustained a qualifying predicate felony, he faces an enhanced sentence as a second felon. A defendant with two prior felonies is a “persistent felony offender,” a designation that in many instances requires a minimum sentence that is greater than the maximum sentence authorized for a second felony offender convicted of the same …

Posted by
Categories: Apprendi, Uncategorized

Posted By
Categories: Apprendi, Uncategorized

Continue Reading
Saturday, June 14th, 2008

The Loan Arranger

United States v. Confredo, No. 06-3201-cr (2d Cir. June 10, 2008) (Newman, Winter, Parker, CJJ)

This case takes on the difficult question of fixing the loss amount under the sentencing guidelines when the case involves fraudulently obtained that loans have been partially repaid. It also addresses an interesting Apprendi claim.

1. The Loss Amount

Defendant Confredo and his associates coordinated the submission of more than 200 fraudulent loan applications to New York banks. The borrowers were small businesses, which paid Confredo a fee, and knew that the applications were false, in most instances because the businesses were not credit worthy. Most of the applications were cosigned by second parties with good credit, but none were secured by real collateral. In total, more than $24 million was sought, and more than $12 million was actually lent, mostly from Citibank.

At sentencing, the probation department recommended that the full $24 million be …

Posted By
Categories: Apprendi, loss calculation, Uncategorized

Continue Reading