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Recent Cases by the United States Supreme Court

Supreme Court limits Honest Services Fraud Statute

Skilling v. United States, 2010 DJDAR 9609

The United States Supreme Court in the case Skilling v. United States recently vacated the honest services convictions of two corporate defendants, Conrad Black and former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilliing. Although the United States Supreme Court held by a 6 - 3 decision to uphold the constituionality of the statute, the court limited it applications to only kickbacks and bribery. It would not apply to cases involving undisclosed self dealing by public officials, or public employee.

As to defendant Skilling, Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg said that there is no evidence of bribery or kickbacks that would support his conviction for honest services fraud. Defense Lawyer Dan Petrocelli of O'Melveney & Myers represented defendant Skill. Criminal Defense lawyer Miguel Estrada of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher represented defendant Black. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the alleged conduct of Black and other executives when they siphoned money for personal use that belong to the company Hollinger International.

The Court held that this was not within the scope of the honest services statute. In the case involving Attorney Bruce Weyhrauch, a former state legislator in Alaska was accused of illegally assisting an oil company. His criminal defense lawyer is Donald B. Ayer of Jones Day, who is also a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California. Experts note that states could enact more disclosure laws to make the statute applicable to failure to disclose conflict cases.

Presumption that charged wobbler is felony does not apply to uncharged conduct in determination of supervised release revocation. (Case involving DA reject of 273.5 in state court used to violate defendant in federal release revocation.)

In a federal appeal by the United States Courts of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the court held that the presumption that chrged wobbleris delony does not aply to uncharges conduct in determination of supervised release revocation. In the case of Tramell D. Denton, the U.S. Federal Disttrict Court forthe Central District of California sentenced the defendant Tramwell Denton to nine months in prison for domestic violence he was on supervised rlease at the time. THe court noted that this case could have been charged as a feony 273.5 charge under Califonria Law. The United States Federal District Court stated therefore that wobblers are presumative felonies and punishable by more than oneyear in prison.

This issue affects whether the defendant is found to have committed a Grade A, B, or C violation of his supervised release.

The District Court found the defendant to have commited a Grade A offense because domestic violence is punishable up to four years in state prison. The court then calculated his sentencin grange uner the United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines as 24 -30 months imprisonment for violating his supervised release. After reviewing the 28 USC 3553(a) sentencing factors, the federal district court departed dowards and sentenced the defendant to 9 months.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stated that to decide whether an offense was punisable by more than one year''s imprisonment, the court should determine whether a trial court would have imposed a punishment oter than imprisonment in state prison and cited People v. Alvarez , 14 Cal.4th 968 in considering factors such as (1) the nature and circumstnaces of the offense, (2) the defendants appreciation and atitude toward the offense (3) or his traits of chracter as evidenced by his behavior and demeanor at the trial and (4) the general objectives of sentencing.

This case could potentially be a Grade C violation. As a result, the case was reversed and remanded. This case was argued by los angeles federal attorney Michael Tanaka, a federal Deputy Public Defender in Los Angeles, and Jayne Kim, as Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles. The case is cited as 2010 DJDAR 10741.

Japanese American Citizens League: Los Angeles Civil Rights Group. This nonprofit group helps preserve and promote the cultures and values of the Japanese American Community. The Downtown Los Angeles JACL chapter is led by President Kitty Sankey. They annually cosponsor the woman of the year program which recognizes four pioneer woman from the community earch year. They are also responsible for helping provide an annual scholarship to alumni from the 9th Street Elementary School in skid row. This scholarship program helps students from economically challenged families in their quest to attend college.

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney defends clients facing juvenile court cases and school expulsion hearings thru out California.



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