Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Summary Summary

It has been a slow week in Foley Square – lots of civil and immigration decisions, but not too much on the criminal front. So, here are some recent summary orders of interest:

In United States v. Williams, No. 06-5530-cr (2d Cir. March 27, 2008), the court dealt with an unusual circumstance in this circuit – an illegal reentry jury trial. The court rejected several case-specific evidentiary claims, but also touched on – without resolving – an interesting and important question: is the defendant’s claim of derivative citizenship an affirmative that he bears the burden of proving, or must the government disprove the possibility of derivative citizenship beyond a reasonable doubt?

Title 18 U.S.C. § 3664(h) permits the sentencing judge to apportion restitution liability among defendants based both on their economic circumstances and level of contribution to the loss. In United States v. Rammelkamp, No. 06-4359-cr (2d Cir. March 19, 2008), the court vacated a restitution order where the district court incorrectly believed that it was required to impose full restitution, and hence did not exercise its apportionment discretion.

Finally, in United States v. Sanders, No. 06-2403-cr, the court upheld an above-Guideline supervised release violation sentence, finding that the district court’s oral statement of reasons “brief though it was” was adequate to satisfy 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c). Its written statement, however, was inadequate, so the court remanded the case for the “limited purpose” of permitting the district court to record its specific reasons in writing.

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