Archive | manslaughter

Friday, June 11th, 2021

Circuit Affirms Grant of Habeas Relief Based on Clear Confrontation Clause Violation.

In Garlick v. Lee, No. 20-1796, the Circuit (Wesley, Sullivan, and Menashi) upheld Chief Judge Colleen McMahon’s decision to grant a petition for habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

Garlick was convicted in state court of first-degree manslaughter. At trial, an autopsy report—prepared at the request of law enforcement during an active homicide investigation—was admitted into evidence over Garlick’s objection through a witness who had not participated in the autopsy or the preparation of the autopsy report. On appeal, the First Department affirmed the conviction, concluding that Garlick’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation was not violated because the autopsy report did not link the commission of the crime to Garlick and therefore was not “testimonial.”

On collateral review, the district court granted Garlick’s § 2254 petition because the First Department’s decision was an “unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.”

The Second Circuit affirmed. Judge Menashi’s opinion …

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Categories: habeas corpus, manslaughter

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Friday, June 15th, 2018

(Non-)Waiver and the Generic Definition of Manslaughter

Last week the Second Circuit issued an opinion holding that, under the residual clause of the pre-2016 Career Offender Guideline (COG), U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2), offenses under a subsection of New York’s first-degree manslaughter statute are crimes of violence. In so holding, the Circuit defined the generic definition of manslaughter to include “the unlawful killing of another human being recklessly.” United States v. Castillo, No. 16-4129 (2d Cir. 2018) (Cabranes, Raggi, Vilardo (WDNY)) (appeal from Woods, J., SDNY), slip op. at 24. The Court further held, in conclusory fashion, that the government did not waive this argument when it conceded, pre-Beckles, that the residual clause of the pre-2016 COG was unconstitutionally vague. The opinion in Castillo, available here, may be of interest to practitioners dealing with the pre-2016 Guidelines, and is more generally worth noting for its loose language  concerning appellate waiver — language that …

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Categories: career offender, categorical approach, manslaughter, waiver

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Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Manslaughter is Not a “Crime of Violence”


In a recent ruling, Judge Woods of the Southern District held first-degree manslaughter in violation of N.Y. Penal Law § 125.20(1) is not a “crime of violence” under the pre-August 1, 2016, Career Offender Guideline, U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2.  A person commits such manslaughter when, “[w]ith intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person.”

Judge Woods first held this offense does not qualify under the Guideline’s residual clause as that clause was “rendered void” by Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015).  The judge next held the offense does not qualify under the Guideline’s force clause because “one can be found guilty of manslaughter under the New York statute on the basis of an omission.” Specifically, “the failure to perform a legally imposed duty” permits conviction if the inaction leads to another’s death.  People

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Categories: ACCA, career offender, crime of violence, manslaughter, murder

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