Archive | rule of lenity

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Family Matters

United States v. Banki, N o. 10-3381-cr (2d Cir. October 24, 2011) (Cabranes, Pooler, Chin, CJJ)

Defendant Banki is an Iranian-born United States citizen. Starting in 2006, his family transferred about $3.4 million from Iran to the United States, all of which was effectuated through the “hawala” system. Banki’s hawala broker used a “matching” system to facilitate these transfers. When he knew that Banki’s family wanted to send money to the United States, he would find someone in the U.S. who wanted to send approximately the same amount to Iran. The U.S.-based contact would transfer into Banki’s account a sum comparable to the amount Banki’s family wished to send. Banki’s hawala broker would then pay an equivalent sum to the U.S.-based contact’s intended recipient, or broker, in Iran. Ultimately, Banki received some 56 hawala-related deposits.

Banki would typically email a family member to confirm receipt of each payment. Although most …

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Between the Cracks

United States v. Rivera, No. 10-1199 (2d Cir. October 21, 2011) (Katzmann, Chin, CJJ, Gleeson, DJ)

This interesting decision answers an unanswered question in the circuit’s jurisprudence on § 3582(c)(2) motions. The outcome is favorable for Mr. Rivera, but will likely not last. An amended version of U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10 goes into effect on November 1, 2011, that is, at least arguably, intended to render defendants in his situation ineligible for a sentence reduction.


Convicted by a jury, Rivera faced a base offense level of 38 for trafficking in more than 1.5 kilograms of crack cocaine. There were no adjustments, so 38 was also his total offense level. He was in criminal history category IV, so his range would have been 324 to 415 months. But, he was a career offender. The highest offense level in the career offender table is 37, so the district court correctly “borrowed” the …

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Categories: 3582(c)(2), rule of lenity, Uncategorized

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