United States v Kalu

Kalu was convicted of numerous counts of fraud, forced labor and money laundering arising out of a 1-B visa scheme. He appealed his convictions and a restitution order. The panel affirmed. It held that while the district court erred in not instructing the jury that specific intent to defraud is an element of a fraud crime, the error was harmless given the evidence that Kalu made false statements and benefited form the scheme. It held there was no constructive amendment as both the indictment and the charge focused on Kalu’s knowing participation in the scheme not devising it. It held that the district court erred in charging the jury about inducing an alien by using a negligence standard instead of knowing or reckless as required by the statute, but, the error did not require reversal because evidence was presented at trial demonstrating Kalu had actual knowledge of the victim’s immigration status and concealed important information for the government and his own immigration lawyer. It there was no error in the use of cause instead of coerces in the force labor instructions as the terms are not materially different and the evidence demonstrated Kalu threaten the victims with deportation and coercion was effectively communicated in another instruction. It finally held the restitution order was proper as it used Kalu’s own projected income to the victims to calculate a net amount to make the victims whole.

Rock v Levinski

Rock was terminated as principal of a high school after publicly disagreeing with the decision to close the school. She sued arguing her termination violated her free speech rights. The district court granted summary judgment to Levinski and the panel affirmed. It held the school district’s interest in having senior leadership speak with one voice on issues overcame her right to speak out. The panel noted this outcome is consistent with both circuit precedent and out of circuit precedent involving principals fired for public dissent.