United States v Deiter

Deiter appealed the denial of his habeas petition. The panel affirmed. It held any error by trail counsel in reading a transcript of a hearsay statement by an unidentified witness during cross examination was not ineffective assistance as evidence that Deter possessed the handgun in question was overwhelming as he was seen where the gun was located, ran off when approached by officers and his DNA was found on the gun and holster. It rejected his Johnson claim holding aiding and abetting is merely a way of proving a defendant committed a crime, bank robbery had recently been held to be a crime of violence under the career criminal statue, Deiter’s aiding and abetting bank robbery convictions thus meet the elements test and the enhanced sentence imposed ion Deiter was thus constitutional.

M.A.K. Investment Group, LLC v City of Glendale and Glendale Urban Renewal Authority

Group appealed judgment to City and Authority on its due process challenge to the lack of notice of a blight designation and lack of notice of the thirty day window to challenge the designation. The panel affirmed in part and reversed in part. It held Group had a property interest in the statutory civil action to challenge the designation as the reviewing court would have to evaluate the designation against an exclusive set of criteria and a successful challenge would result in a mandatory reversal of the designation. It rejected City’s argument that blight designations could increase land value as speculative given the burdens on mortgaging the property and the fact the argument is irrelevant to the procedural issue. Applying the general rule of notice, the panel held City was required to give Group direct notice of eth blight determination through mail, email or personal delivery despite the fact the blight statute does not require such notice, held Group’s failure to diligently protect its interests does not change the result the case on notice relied upon by City has been effectively abrogated by more recent precedent applying the general rule of direct notice, the fact Group is held to know the law does not change the outcome as the blight designation was the formal action which triggered the blight statute and the fact a condemnation suit may occur does not change the outcome as the suit may never happen and being able to raise an argument is not the same as a cause of action to reverse a blight designation. It affirmed as to the thirty day window as that is set out in the blight statute which is publicly available.

United States v Barnes; United States v brown

The government appealed the sentences for Barnes and Brown arguing they were substantively unreasonable because they were too lenient. The panel, 2-1, affirmed. The majority held Barnes sentence was substantively reasonable because  it permissibly found that Barnes health, care for nieces and nephews, low risk of recidivism, lack of a criminal record and the fact he would never work in law enforcement again and thus never have the chance to abuse his authority in a jail or prison setting and the conclusion other law enforcement would be deterred form abusing inmates by a period of incarceration and supervised release for Barnes and thus the variance downward was justified. It affirmed as to brown as the district permissibly took into account Brown’s lower culpability, family situation , low risk of recidivism, lack of need for a long sentence to specifically deter Brown and the conclusion Brown’s sentence of incarceration and supervised release would generally deter other law enforcement officers. It held the cases relied upon by the government did not compel a different outcome as they involved cases with no individualized fact-finding or arbitrary decision-making and rejected the dissent’s approach as there is no one mathematical formula which controls all federal criminal sentencing. Bacharach dissented arguing the majority sued a procedural reasonableness test instead of a substantive one, Barnes and Brown’s sentences were lower by at least half than 19 of 20 comparable cases and the one with a  shorter sentence had a unique situation not relevant here, the district court did not look at the comparables, minimized the seriousness of the misconduct here, failed to take into account the very serious nature of depriving inmates of their rights through violence, the district court improperly based leniency in Brown’s case on its doubt about the verdict, and characteristics of Barnes and Brown did not justify the variance here as they were mostly improper and the others were insufficient individually or as a whole to justify the variance.