Thursday, August 16, 2012

Eleventh Circuit Activity

United States v. Mathurin

Judge: Martin
Areas of Law: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
Opinion Date: August 15, 2012
Defendant-Appellant James Mathurin was convicted of a number of armed robbery and weapons charges. These convictions resulted from a five-month-long crime spree in Miami-Dade County that took place when Defendant was seventeen-years-old. On appeal, Defendant challenged his convictions on a number of grounds, one of which is that the government violated his rights under the Speedy Trial Act. The narrow question on appeal before the Eleventh Circuit was whether the time during which plea negotiations are conducted is automatically excludable from the Speedy Trial Act’s thirty-day window for filing an information or indictment. After review, the Court concluded that the time during which plea negotiations are conducted are not automatically excludable. Therefore, the Court reversed the District Court’s denial of Defendant's motion to dismiss, vacated his convictions, and remanded the case to the District Court with instructions to determine whether dismissal of the charges should be with or without prejudice.
View Case on: Justia  Google Scholar

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Case Against Gibson Guitar Corp. Dropped

In a somewhat bizarre federal criminal case brought against Gibson Guitar Corp., the two parties have agreed to a settlement that will result only in the imposition of a fine and the forfeiture of property.  Below are some excerpts from a story published in the New Zealand Herald:
US federal prosecutor have announced a deal to drop a criminal case against Gibson Guitar Corp. after the instrument maker acknowledged its importations of exotic wood violated environmental laws.
Nashville-based Gibson agreed to pay a US$300,000 penalty, forfeit claims to about $262,000 worth of wood seized by federal agents and contribute $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to promote the conservation of protected tree species.
"The agreement is fair and just in that it assesses serious penalties for Gibson's behavior while allowing Gibson to continue to focus on the business of making guitars," US Attorney Jerry Martin said in a statement.
 Gibson's decision to cooperate with the federal Lacey Act banning the import of endangered wood products stood in contrast to a publicity campaign mounted in protest after agents raided Gibson facilities in Memphis and Nashville. 
Republicans and tea party members had rallied behind CEO Henry Juszkiewicz at the time he denounced the raids as overzealous federal regulation that threatened American jobs.
"We feel totally abused," Juszkiewicz said immediately after the August 2011 raid. He vowed at the time the company would "fight aggressively to prove our innocence." Soon afterward he was invited by House Speaker John Boehner to attend a joint session of Congress in which President Barack Obama delivered a speech on jobs. 
The settlement says a Gibson employee learned during a 2008 trip to Madagascar the source of some of the ebony wood that was seized that it was illegal to import unfinished wood and sent a report about it to his superiors, including company President David Berryman.
The exotic woods used in such guitars are considered integral to the sound. And artists who have played Gibson instruments range widely from Chet Atkins and Maybelle Carter in country to Pete Townshend of The Who and Eric Clapton in rock to Larry Carlton and Paul in jazz. 
Read the entire article here

Friday, August 3, 2012

"Where have you been, my New York gun?"

The Wall Street Journal published numbers released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regarding guns recovered from crimes committed in New York.  Take from it what you wish:
Federal data show most guns recovered from New York crimes last year originated in states with fewer legal restrictions, though the largest single source is still New York, where nearly 1,600 were first purchased.
The report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced 8,793 guns from New York crimes or investigations. They include 407 guns originally bought in Virginia, 368 in Pennsylvania, 349 in North Carolina, 328 in South Carolina, 341 in Florida and 332 in Georgia.
ATF officials call New York "a market state" for gun traffickers because it is highly regulated. Its laws prohibit machine guns and possessing handguns without a license.
Their 2011 report tracks 6,555 pistols and revolvers and more than 2,000 rifles, shotguns and 15 firearms.