Categorical Approach Update

Posted on March 10, 2017

Beckles v. United States, __ S.Ct. __, 2017 WL 855781 (Mar. 6, 2017): The Supreme Court held that the Sentencing Guidelines in general—and the residual clause of the career-offender guideline in particular—are not subject to vagueness challenges under the Due Process Clause. United States v. Jenkins, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 727154 (7th Cir. Feb. 24, 2017): The Court held that kidnapping under 18 U.S.C. §1201(a) is not a crime of violence for purposes of 18 U.S.C. §924(c) because it does not have as an […]..

Categorical Approach Update

Posted on February 10, 2017

United States v. Steiner, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 437657 (3d Cir. Feb. 1, 2017): The Court held that Pennsylvania burglary (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §3502(A)) is categorically not a crime of violence for purposes of U.S.S.G. §2K2.1 / §4B1.2. United States v. Driver, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 382307 (11th Cir. Jan. 27, 2017): The Court held that Florida’s false-imprisonment statute (Fla. Stat. Ann. §787.02)—which defines the crime as “forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful […]..

Homeless Man Found Not Guilty in Fight at Social Security Office

Posted on December 14, 2016

A federal jury on December 14, 2016 found that our client, a 42-year old homeless man, was not guilty of assaulting security guards at a Social Security Office in Los Angeles.  The verdict came after video footage at trial revealed that our client did not attack the officers first.  Security guards testified that our client spit at them, and approached them first with an assaultive stance.  The guards also alleged part of the assault occurred after they took our client down to the ground, because […]..

United States Supreme Court Issues Decision in Shaw v. U.S.

Posted on December 12, 2016

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Shaw v. United States.  Deputy Federal Public Defender Koren Bell argued this case before the Supreme Court on October 4, 2016.  The Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s judgment which had upheld Shaw’s conviction and sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit to consider whether the jury instructions were lawful. The Court agreed with our argument that the bank fraud requires the intent to deprive the bank of something of value. It is not enough–as […]..

President Obama Grants Clemency to FPD-CDCA Client Keldren Joshua

Posted on November 13, 2016

In 2014, the Department of Justice, under the Obama Administration, announced the Clemency Initiative, which invited petitions for commutation of sentence from nonviolent offenders who were convicted of drug offenses.  In August 2016, Deputy Federal Public Defender Andre J. Townsend successfully secured a grant of clemency for his client, Keldren Joshua.  Mr. Joshua was a low-level, non-violent drug offender who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams of methamphetamine.  Pursuant to President Obama’s grant of his clemency petition, Joshua […]..

Categorical Approach Update

Posted on November 11, 2016

Cases Esquivel-Quintana v. Lynch, Case No. 16-54 (Oct. 28, 2016): The Supreme Court granted review to address this question: “Whether a conviction under one of the seven state statutes criminalizing consensual sexual intercourse between a 21-year-old and someone almost 18 constitutes an ‘aggravated felony’ of ‘sexual abuse of a minor’ under 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(43)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act – and therefore constitutes grounds for mandatory removal.” Rios-Vizcarra v. Wigen, __ Fed.Appx. __, 2016 WL 6156049 (9th Cir. Oct. 24, 2016): The Court upheld […]..

FPD-CDCA Staff Helps Prepare Dorsey High School Mock Trial Team

Posted on October 28, 2016

On October 27, 2016, Federal Public Defender Hilary Potashner and other attorneys and staff from the FPD-CDCA visited Dorsey High School in Los Angeles to help coach students participating in the Constitutional Rights Foundation Mock Trial Program.  This year’s Mock Trial Program case, People v. Awbrey, involved a restaurant owner accused of the human trafficking and false imprisonment of an immigrant laborer.  The FPD-CDCA team helped students practice and refine their motions argument, opening and closing statements, and witness examinations in advance of the competition.  […]..

Attorneys Help Mock Trial Team at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy

Posted on October 21, 2016

On October 21, 2016, Rose Angulo and Marta VanLandingham, attorneys with the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California, were invited to visit the mock trial team at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, Los Angeles.  The team, coached by 8th grade Humanities teacher Kristine Garcia, was already strong in arguing and reasoning skills, but wanted assistance in the structure of the trial, the use of evidence, and their overall delivery. Rose and Marta were extremely impressed by the students, who may have been […]..

Categorical Approach Update

Posted on October 21, 2016

Cases Lynch v. Dimaya, Case No. 15-1498 (Sept. 29, 2016): The Supreme Court granted review to address this question: “Whether 18 U.S.C. §16(b), as incorporated into the Immigration and Nationality Act’s provisions governing an alien’s removal from the United States, is unconstitutionally vague.” United States v. Martinez-Lopez, Case No. 14-50014 (9th Cir. Sept. 26, 2016): The Court ordered rehearing en banc in this illegal-reentry case to apply the categorical approach to California Health & Safety Code §11352. The case presents two issues: (1) whether the […]..

FPD-CDCA Staff Discuss Death Penalty with Students at Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Technology Academy High School

Posted on October 18, 2016

Staff at the FPD-CDCA visited a classroom at the Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Technology Academy High School in Los Angeles on Monday, October 17, 2016. The focus of the presentation was capital cases. Our staff did a role play activity in which students had to situate themselves in the middle of a death penalty case and consider multiple perspectives on this important issue. Students had to take ownership of their position and defend it. The activity segued into a discussion about the importance of defending […]..