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Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes

December 7, 2012

Court Finds Proof of Witness Tampering Insufficient

In U.S. v. Shavers, No. 10-2790 (Aug. 27, 2012), the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit considered the defendants’ Hobbs Act and witness tampering convictions, arising out of the robbery of a "speak-easy" in Philadelphia. On the Hobbs Act counts, the defendants had argued that the government failed to show a "substantial effect" on interstate commerce. The Court held that only a minimal or potential effect was necessary, and found that the evidence – which showed the speakeasy had operated for years, the proprietress bought alcohol at retail and resold it to friends, and made enough...

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October 16, 2012

Unprovoked Flight, Without More, Cannot Elevate Reasonable Suspicion to Detain and Investigate into the Probable Cause Required for an Arrest

In United States v. Navedo, No. 11-3413 (3d Cir. Sept. 12, 2012), Defendant appealed the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey's denial of a motion to suppress weapons that police discovered in his home after a warrantless arrest. He argued that he was detained without reasonable suspicion or probable cause to arrest and that the weapons that were subsequently recovered from his apartment should therefore have been suppressed. While performing surveillance, two undercover police officers observed...

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September 17, 2012

Third Circuit Rules Unlicensed Distribution of Prescription Drugs Not an “Aggravated Felony”

In Borrome v. Attorney General, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 14676, Petitioner Borrome was an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, who, since August 1996 had been a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Following his conviction under a federal indictment alleging the distribution of prescription drugs including Oxycontin, an immigration judge (IJ) ordered Borrome removed. On the Government's motion, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) summarily affirmed the IJ's decision without opinion pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(e)(4). Borrome petitioned for review. The Circuit court applied the...

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June 13, 2012

Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Upholds Defendant’s Classification as a “Career Offender”

In U.S. v. Marrero, No. 11-2351 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 8386, Defendant Ricardo Marrero appealed his judgment of sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of bank robbery. Marrero claimed the District Court erred in classifying him as a "career offender" under § 4B1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, arguing that under Pennsylvania law neither his prior third-degree murder nor his simple assault conviction qualified as a crime of violence because "a conviction for mere recklessness cannot constitute a crime...

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June 6, 2012

3rd Circuit Rules That Tip From Reliable Source Plus Dark Window Tint Does Not Provide Reasonable Suspicion to Stop and Search a Vehicle

The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently handed down a significant decision concerning evidence suppression in U.S. v. Lewis. After receiving a tip from a reliable source that individuals in a white Toyota Camry were carrying firearms, police officers in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle. During the traffic stop, a firearm was discovered on the driver, Defendant Ahmoi Lewis. The source provided no details about the legal status of the firearms, and when making the stop, an officer testified that the tints on the vehicle's windows exceeded the...

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