Archive | life

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Miller Round-Up

The Second Circuit issued no criminal opinions or notable summary orders this week. This silence provides the occasion to flag two recent decisions outside the Circuit about the scope of Miller v. Alabama (2012) (requiring individualized sentencing consideration before sentencing a juvenile offender to life without parole, and holding that this punishment may be imposed only on “the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption”).

First, Judge Hall of the District of Connecticut extended Miller’s holding to 18 year-old offenders. The decision in Cruz v. United States, granting a successive 2255 petition, is available here. Judge Hall’s opinion in Cruz identifies national policy and scientific consensuses that disfavor mandatory life without parole (LWOP) for 18 year-olds.  With respect to the policy consensus, Judge Hall looked beyond the number of states that forbid LWOP for 18 year-olds to consider the actual frequency with which this punishment is …

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Categories: Eighth Amendment, life, Miller

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Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Circuit Affirms Life Sentence for Leader of Violent Drug Trafficking Organization

There were no published opinions today.

In an unpublished opinion, United States v. Fernandini, No. 14-2203, the Second Circuit affirmed a within-Guidelines life sentence for the leader of a violent drug trafficking organization over procedural and substantive reasonableness challenges.

Fernandini pleaded guilty to (i) conspiracy to traffic narcotics; (ii) using a firearm to commit murder in furtherance of the conspiracy, 18 U.S.C. § 924(j)(1); and (iii) discharging the firearm in furtherance of the conspiracy, § 924(c)(1)(A)(iii). In affirming, the Circuit noted that “Fernandini was the leader of a notorious and ruthless gang for nearly a decade.  As gang leader, he significantly increased the quantity of narcotics the organization imported and enforced the organization’s territory with violence, including killing or ordering the killing of rival gang members.”

On the government’s consent, however, the Circuit vacated the § 924(c)(1)(A)(iii) discharging count, as it was a lesser included offense of the § …

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Categories: 924(c), guideline, life

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Categories: 924(c), guideline, life

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Sunday, November 18th, 2007

To Life!

United States v. Freeman, No. 05-5529-cr (2d Cir. November 14, 2007) (Straub, Katzmann, Parker, CJJ)

Michael Freeman was convicted of drug trafficking, robbery and gun possession, but acquitted of two homicide counts. The district court nevertheless imposed a life sentence, based on its preponderance finding that Freeman committed the murders of which he was acquitted.

The court rejected various challenges to the sentence. It held – again – that the statutory maximum for violating 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) is life, thus the life sentence was legal. It also held that the district court had complied with the circuit’s requirement that it “consider” the acquittal, and that the district court properly found that Freeman himself committed the murders.

Freeman also challenged an evidentiary ruling. At trial, the court admitted a redacted version of his confession that contained only the inculpatory part, but omitted exculpatory statements suggesting that some of his actions …

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Categories: acquitted conduct, life, Rule 106, rule of completeness, sentence, Uncategorized

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