Author: Federal Public Defender, CDCA

Ninth Circuit Vacates 15-year ACCA Sentence and Remands for Resentencing

Posted on February 1, 2018

Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California’s DFPD Jonathan Libby successfully convinced the 9th Circuit that our client’s prior convictions for Alabama robbery and California second degree robbery were not crimes of violence under the Armed Career Criminal Act. The panel vacated a sentence and remanded for resentencing in a case in which the district court imposed an enhancement under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1) (ACCA), on the ground that the defendant had four prior convictions for violent felonies. […]..

Categorical Approach Update

Posted on January 8, 2018

Villavicencio v. Sessions, __ F.3d __, 2018 WL 297186 (9th Cir. Jan. 5, 2018): The Court held that Nevada convictions for conspiracy to possess drugs (N.R.S. §199.480 and §454.351) did not qualify as controlled-substance offenses under 8 U.S.C. §1227(a)(2)(B)(i). First, Nevada’s conspiracy statute, which does not include an overt-act requirement, is broader than generic conspiracy, and the state statute is indivisible. Furthermore, the Nevada drug statute at issue is overbroad to the extent it encompasses controlled substances not covered by the federal Controlled Substances Act, […]..

Categorical Approach Update

Posted on December 13, 2017

United States v. Valdivia-Flores, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 6044232 (9th Cir. Dec. 7, 2017): The Court held that a Washington conviction for possession of controlled substance with intent to distribute (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§9A.08.010(1)(a), 9A.08.010(1)(b), & 69.50.401) was not categorically an aggravated felony because the state drug trafficking law had a more inclusive mens rea requirement for accomplice liability than its federal analogue. And because the state statute is indivisible, the modified categorical approach cannot be used. Therefore, the alien got relief even […]..

Former Federal Public Defender Sean Kennedy Helps Loyola Law School CJLP Receive $1 Million Grant

Posted on November 20, 2017

The Everychild Foundation announced today that its 2017 $1 million grant has been awarded to the Center for Juvenile Law & Policy (CJLP) at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. The grant, payable over three years, will help launch the Everychild Integrated Educational and Legal Advocacy Project.  The project aims to stop the school-to-prison pipeline for “crossover youth,” the name given to foster youth who are also involved in the juvenile justice system. The program anticipates serving 300 unduplicated such youth. When a child enters the […]..

Categorical Approach Update

Posted on November 17, 2017

United States v. Solomon, __ Fed.Appx. __, 2017 WL 4966452 (9th Cir. Oct. 27, 2017): The Court held that an assault conviction under California Penal Code §245(a)(4) is a crime of violence for purposes of U.S.S.G. §4B1.2 under existing circuit precedent, which is not clearly irreconcilable with Descamps, Mathis, or Johnson. United States v. O’Connor, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 4872571 (10th Cir. Oct. 30, 2017): The Court held that Hobbs Act robbery (18 U.S.C. §1951) is categorically not a crime of violence for purposes […]..

Attorney Seema Ahmad takes part in the Muslim Public Affairs Council annual convention in Los Angeles on bridging the divides in religion, race, and politics.

Posted on November 5, 2017

The Muslim Public Affairs Council annual convention in Los Angeles held a series of panel discussions on bridging the divides in religion, race, and politics. This panel highlighted the challenges between balancing national security and law enforcement with the civil rights of citizens. Our very own Seema Ahmad  was a member of the panel...

Texas Appeals Court Stays the Execution of Clinton Young

Posted on October 18, 2017

Case remanded to Midland Court for review of alleged false testimony Los Angeles, CA. (October 18, 2017) – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals this morning issued a stay of the October 26 execution of inmate Clinton Young and remanded the case to a Midland District Court to determine if his conviction was based on false testimony. The court’s order comes after the Office of the Federal Public Defender filed papers earlier this month challenging Young’s conviction and sentence. The filing included sworn affidavits from […]..

Categorical Approach Update

Posted on October 16, 2017

United States v. Slade, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 4509044 (9th Cir. Oct. 10, 2017): The Court held that a conviction under Washington’s second-degree assault statute (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §9A.36.021) is categorically not a crime of violence under U.S.S.G. §2K2.1 and §4B1.2. United States v. Knight, __ Fed.Appx. __, 2017 WL 4461085 (9th Cir. Oct. 5, 2017): The Court held that a Louisiana armed-robbery conviction (La. Stat. Ann. §14:64) is a crime of violence for purposes of U.S.S.G. §2K2.1 and §4B1.2. United States v. […]..

New Evidence Shows Texas Death Row Inmate Innocent of 2001 Murder

Posted on October 10, 2017

Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California seeks a stay of October 26th execution. MIDLAND, Tex (Oct. 10, 2017) ­‑ Citing compelling new scientific evidence, a 34-year-old death row inmate has asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to vacate his scheduled October 26 execution for the 2001 murder of a man in Midland. Attorneys for inmate Clinton Young, also have asked the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend that the Governor grant clemency or a reprieve, saying the new […]..

Sentences Reduced by 1,752 Months for 17 Clients in Past 12 Months Following Johnson Decision

Posted on October 6, 2017

In 2015, in a case called Johnson v. United States, the Supreme Court held that the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) was void for vagueness.The ACCA is a United States federal law that provides sentencing enhancements for felons who commit crimes with firearms if they are convicted of certain crimes three or more times. If convicted under ACCA, the law imposes a special mandatory prison term of 15 years. Following the Johnson decision, the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central […]..