Categorical Approach Update

Posted on August 21, 2017

United States v. Martinez-Lopez, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 3203552 (9th Cir. July 28, 2017) (en banc): The Court considered whether California Health & Safety Code §11352, which—like many California drug statutes—criminalizes a variety of activities related to multiple controlled substances, is a drug trafficking for purposes of U.S.S.G. §2L1.2. The Court first held that the statute, which is overbroad with regard to the type of controlled substance, is divisible as to that element such that the modified categorical approach can be used. The Court […]..

Air Force Veteran and victim of workplace bullying found not guilty

Posted on July 28, 2017

Today our client was found not guilty of creating a disturbance at a federal facility by physically assaulting a co-worker. The complaining witness, a man who was 6 inches taller and 100 pounds heavier than our female client, accused our client of chest bumping him, repeatedly hitting him, and pinning him against a wall. During trial, Deputy Federal Public Defender Angela Viramontes presented evidence that the complaining witness had been actively targeting our client with unfounded threats, accusations, and complaints about her work performance. Attorney […]..

75 year old man with dementia can return to Santa Monica Mountains National Park

Posted on July 28, 2017

Following a verbal altercation with park rangers at Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica National Park, our 75-year-old client was tasered and dragged out of his car, elbowed in the face, handcuffed, taken to the hospital, and then driven to Orange County to spend a night in jail. He was given six citations. Prosecutors refused to dismiss the case against him even after receiving neurological evidence of his dementia. The case went to trial. Our client was acquitted on the four most serious counts. He […]..

Categorical Approach Update

Posted on July 20, 2017

United States v. Ochoa, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 2836820 (9th Cir. July 3, 2017): The Court held that a conviction for conspiring to export defense articles without a license under 18 U.S.C. §371 and 22 U.S.C. §2778 was not categorically a firearms offense providing grounds for deportation (under either 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(43)(C) or 8 U.S.C. §1227(a)(2)(C)), and the statute was not divisible, so the modified categorical approach could not be used. United States v. Strickland, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 2723926 (9th Cir. June […]..

New Evidence Helps Free Client From Life Sentence for Attempted Robbery

Posted on July 10, 2017

A Los Angeles man represented by the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California was freed from state prison this week after serving 10 years of a 40-years-to-life sentence for attempted robbery.  The FPD-CDCA identified new evidence concerning the offense and the client’s culpability, which led to negotiations with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.  With assistance from Loyola’s Project for the Innocent, the parties agreed to modify the client’s sentence to result in his release from custody.  The agreement also […]..

Categorical Approach Update

Posted on May 26, 2017

United States v. Aguirra, __ Fed.Appx. __, 2017 WL 2258554, *3 (9th Cir. May 23, 2017): The Court concluded that Becerril-Lopez (holding that a conviction under California Penal Code §211 is categorically a crime of violence for purposes of U.S.S.G. §2L1.2) is not clearly irreconcilable with Mathis or Descamps, so it has not been effectively overruled. United States v. Martinez-Rodriguez, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 2080268 (5th Cir. May 12, 2017): The Court held that a Texas conviction for causing injury to a child (Tex. […]..

10 CASA Participants Graduate from Program

Posted on May 10, 2017

Today, a graduation ceremony was held at the California Central District’s United States Courthouse in Los Angeles for 10 people who successfully completed the Conviction and Sentence Alternatives (CASA) Program. The event was held in the ceremonial courtroom and presided over by the Hon. Dolly Gee, U.S. District Court Judge, Hon. Paul Abrams, U.S. Magistrate Judge, and Hon. Virginia Phillips, Chief U.S. District Judge. Friends and family attended the graduation ceremony. Staff from the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California attended […]..

Categorical Approach Update

Posted on May 5, 2017

United States v. Rivera-Muniz, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 1404193 (9th Cir. Apr. 20, 2017): The Court held that a California manslaughter conviction (Cal. Penal Code §192(a)) is categorically a crime of violence (namely, generic manslaughter) for purposes of U.S.S.G. §2L1.2. United States v. Barker, __ Fed.Appx. __, 2017 WL 1433330 (9th Cir. Apr. 24, 2017), and United States v. Andrews, __ Fed.Appx. __, 2017 WL 1433316 (9th Cir. Apr. 24, 2017): The Court rejected vagueness challenges to U.S.S.G. §4B1.2’s residual clause in light of […]..

Categorical Approach Update

Posted on April 14, 2017

United States v. Arriaga-Pinon, __ F.3d __, Case No. 16-50188 (9th Cir. Apr. 7, 2017): The Court held that, under the modified categorical approach, the defendant’s conviction under California Vehicle Code §10851(a) (theft and unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle) was not an aggravated felony. The Court therefore did not have to reach the defendant’s argument that its 2013 decision in Duenas-Alvarez holding that §10851(a) is divisible is clearly irreconcilable with Mathis. Concurring, Judge Thomas noted that, because Mathis has altered the legal landscape, […]..

Former Deputy Federal Public Defender Ingrid Eagly Receives 2017 UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award

Posted on March 13, 2017

UCLA School of Law Professor (and former Deputy Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California) Ingrid Eagly has been honored with UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest honor for academic instruction at the university. Eagly, the faculty director of UCLA Law’s David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, is one of six professors to receive the honor in 2017. The Distinguished Teaching Award was first granted in 1961. It aims to inspire students and faculty by shining a light on […]..