Currently Browsing:Sentencing

Fourth Circuit OK’s Conviction & Sentence in Maryland Bank Fraud Conspiracy

US v. Junaidu Savage (No. 16-4704) A federal grand jury for the District of Maryland indicted Junaidu Savage for bank fraud conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count One), and aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A (Counts Two and Three). The Government alleged that Savage and others devised a scheme to

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4th Circuit: SC Involuntary Manslaughter Not a “Violent Felony” Per the ACCA

U.S. v. Jenaro Middleton (No. 16-7556) Jarnaro Carlos Middleton was sentenced as an armed career criminal pursuant to the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). On appeal, Middleton challenges the district court’s determination that his prior conviction for South Carolina involuntary manslaughter qualifies as a violent felony under the ACCA. Applying the

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Fourth Circuit: NC Voluntary Manslaughter is a Violent Felony Per the ACCA

United States v. Antoine Darrell Smith (No. 17-4015) Smith pled guilty to one count of PWID cocaine, and one count of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. Smith’s PSI indicated that he was subject to enhanced penalties under the ACCA, due in part to his North Carolina conviction for voluntary manslaughter. Smith argued that

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SC Supreme Court Reverses Denial of PCR in Criminal Sexual Conduct Case

Michael Lee Robinson v. State (No. 2015-001773) In this PCR case, Robinson was charged with criminal sexual conduct for acts that took place between 1998 and 2000. At the time the alleged acts occurred, criminal sexual conduct with a minor carried a sentencing range of 0-30 years. Subsequently, the statute was amended to increase the

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Fourth Circuit Denies Successive Habeas Petition, Shrugs Off Defendant’s “Scylla and Charybdis” Bind

In re: Jarius Dama Phillips (No. 16-9566) Defendant was convicted in Virginia state court for abduction, rape, and related charges. He was 17 years old at the time of the offense, and was sentenced to four terms of life imprisonment. Virginia has abolished traditional parole, thus these sentences amount to a life-without-parole sentence, as it

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SC Supreme Court Affirms Dorchester PCR Court; Death Sentence Affirmed in 2001 Murder Case

Marion Bowman v. State (No. 27661) During the sentencing phase of this capital murder case, defense counsel elicited testimony regarding the defendant’s adaptability to the prison environment, in hopes of convincing the jury to impose a life sentence. During one witness’ testimony on this subject, counsel elicited testimony that the defendant would not be going to a “kiddy

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Fourth Circuit Reverses District Court; §2255 Petitioner Entitled to Resentencing

United States v. Jolon Carthorne (No. 16-6515) The defendant was convicted of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. At sentencing, the probation officer’s presentence report indicated that defendant was subject to the career offender enhancement, due in part to his prior conviction for Assault and Battery of a Police Officer

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Fourth Circuit Vacates Procedurally Unreasonable Sentence; District Court Failed to Consider Defendant’s Arguments for Lesser Sentence

U.S. v. Benjamin Cornelius Blue (No. 16-4537) Defendant-Appellant Benjamin Cornelius Blue appeals his 272-month sentence, which the district court imposed after Blue pled guilty to armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. On appeal, Blue argues that his sentence is unreasonable because the district court failed to address his non-frivolous arguments

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Fourth Circuit: Assault With Serious Bodily Injury (NC) is a “Crime of Violence” Under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2

U.S. v. Shawntanna Thompson Shawntanna Lemarus Thompson pled guilty to a drug offense and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The district court increased his sentence, because it found Thompson’s previous state conviction for assault inflicting serious bodily injury constituted a “crime of violence” under § 4B1.2 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines.

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Fourth Circuit Vacates Unreasonable Sentence in Child Pornography Case

U.S. v. Julian Zuk (No. 16-4727) In this appeal, the government challenges as substantively unreasonable the sentence imposed by the district court on Julian Zuk. Zuk was indicted on seven counts for transmitting, receiving, and possessing child pornography. The undisputed evidence shows that before his arrest, Zuk amassed more than 13,800 photographs and more than

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