Monday, February 13, 2012

Unpublished Highlights

A few highlights from today's unpublished opinions:

US v. Shawn Taylor, No. 09-5315 (available here)
Ankle bracelets cost $575. You break it, you buy it.

US v. VanderZwaag, Nos. 10-1413, 10-1415 (available here)
Special verdict forms are not required for aiding and abetting charge, even though it is later impossible to determine if jury convicted defendants either as a principal or as an aider or abettor, or both.

The opinion also provides guidance for the difficult calculation of fraud loss under § 2B1.1:
- Loss is calculated as the amount loaned as a result of the fraud, reduced by the value of the collateral pledged.

- Comment 3(a) to USSG § 2B1.1 provides that “loss is the greater of actual or intended loss.”

- When a district court is not able to calculate the loss, the commentary to the guidelines permit the court to base the punishment on the defendant’s gain, under U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1 n.3(B).

- Where the fraud occurs in connection with collateral pledged for a mortgage, the defendant is entitled to a reduction in the loss amount as a result of the sale of the collateral, or the fair market value at the time of sentencing, under U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1 n.3(E)(ii).


US v. Dr. Catro-Ramirez, No. 10-2128 (available here)
The parties cannot introduce contents of an entire computer; rather, evidence is limited to relevant files.

US v. John R. Tolbert, Jr. No. 10-5688 (available here)
Under Tapia v. United States, 131 S.Ct. 2382, 2393 (2011), a district court may state the sentence allows “the opportunity to rehabilitate himself” and may discuss rehabilitative opportunities in prison.

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