A New Scheme to Defraud Homeowners: 7th Circuit follows 9th in Holding No Specific Unanimity as to the Means

United States v. Daniel, No. 13-2399, (7th Cir. Apr. 15, 2014) When unsuspecting homeowners were told they could place their titles in trust and regain full title free and clear of any mortgage after five years, they were eager to join Rym Tehnology Holdings, LLC’s (Rymtech’s) program. As part of the program, they signed over the title of their property to straw purchasers called “A buyers” who were supposed to obtain financing from mortgage lenders to pay off the mortgage. Instead, ... [Continue Reading]

Tacking Trademark Rights on Appeal, Question of Law or Fact?

        Hana Financial Inc. v. Hana Bank, No. 11-56678 (9th Cir. Nov. 22, 2013) For the purposes of this blog, the facts are largely irrelevant, but to read the extended analysis of this case you can contact me by clicking the "contact" link at the top of the page and submit a request.  Here, I will only discuss the appellate implications. A party claiming trademark ownership must establish that it has priority, meaning it was the first to use the mark in ... [Continue Reading]

No Relief for Presumed Wicked, Mistreated Guantanamo Bay Detainees Not Entitled to Day in Court

This post is quite long, but worth reading.  It summarizes what we are left with after Boumediene v. Bush.  This post is a comment on Hamad v. Gates, No. 12-35395 (9th Cir.  Oct. 7, 2013). Hamad, a Sudanese enemy combatant alleges he was detained in Pakistan in 2002 by Pakistani forces acting at the direction of an American official.  From there he was transferred to U.S. military custody and eventually detained at Guantanamo Bay.  The Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) found Hamad ... [Continue Reading]

What to Expect in Ninth Circuit Oral Arguments

  Last week I spent two days in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals where I observed a total of 7 oral arguments.  It was interesting to see each counsel’s style and preparation level and the Justices reactions to their arguments.  Here are some of my observations. Substantive Observations Direct Questions – The panel was a particularly hot bench and wasted no time getting into the heart of the argument.  Justice Garber started asking questions immediately following the ... [Continue Reading]

Would You Trust the Government With Your DNA?

United States v. Kriesel, No. 11-30197, 2013 WL 3242293, (9th Cir. June 28, 2013) Thomas Kriesel pled guilty to a drug conspiracy charge and was sentenced to imprisonment and then supervised release.  As a condition of his supervised release he was required to provide a blood sample for DNA analysis which would be stored in CODIS.  Upon completion of his supervised release, Kriesel moved the court to return his sample, citing Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g). The Ninth Circuit Court ... [Continue Reading]

PSST. Invoke Your Right to Silence Pass it On. Part II

Does Salinas v. Texas, __ Sup. Ct. __, No. 12-246, 2013 WL 2922119, (June 17, 2013) overrule State v. Easter, 922 P.2d 1285 (1996)and its progeny? Article 1 § 9 of the Washington Constitution has traditionally been interpreted as equivalent to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.  But… When comparing the United States Supreme Court’s analysis of pre-arrest silence to the Washington Supreme Court’s analysis, two different pictures emerge. Salinas v. Texas, __ Sup. Ct. ... [Continue Reading]

Pssst. Invoke your right to Silence. Pass it on.

Salinas v. Texas, __ Sup. Ct. __, No. 12-246, 2013 WL 2922119, (June 17, 2013) The Petitioner attended a party where someone was shot to death. Salinas, 2013 WL 2922119 at 3.  He voluntarily answered most of the officer’s questions, but remained silent when police asked if the shotgun shells recovered at the murder scene would match his shotgun. Id.  Later, he was charged with the murder. Id. During trial, prosecutors used his reaction to the question as evidence of his guilt. Id. at ... [Continue Reading]

Defendant’s Sentence Under Current Sentencing Guidelines Violates Ex Post Facto Clause When Criminal Acts Were Committed Before Current Structure and New Guidelines Provide Higher Sentencing Range.

Peugh v. United States, __ S. Ct.  __ (2013) Defendant convicted of 5 counts of bank fraud and sentenced in 2010 as a result of acts committed in 1998.  Under the 1998 Sentencing Guidelines, his sentence was 30-37 months and under 2009 Guidelines it was 70-87 months.  Defendant was sentenced to 70 months and he appealed arguing that under the Ex Post Facto Clause, he should be sentenced under the scheme in place at the time the acts were committed, not when sentenced. Ex Post Facto laws ... [Continue Reading]