Decisions in Immigration and Criminal Cases Including a Sweepstakes Scheme
In US v. Llamas, No. 09-4045, the court faced a challenge to a conviction for multiple offenses arising from defendant's role in fraudulent sweepstakes scheme, a 132 month sentence and restitution order exceeding $4.2 million. In affirming the conviction and the sentence, the court rejected defendant's arguments including, that the district court erred in applying an adjustment for preying on unusually vulnerable victims and in finding that he played a central role at the Costa Rica call center in the scheme. However, the court vacated and remanded the restitution order as the district court abused its discretion in not limiting the restitution amount to losses attributable to the call center.
In US v. Caro, No. 07-5, the court faced a challenge to a conviction for first-degree murder of and a sentence of death for killing of an inmate. The defendant made several challenges to his conviction, including district court's voir dire, denial of his Brady motions, refusal to give defendant's proposed mercy instruction, and various admissibility decisions. However, the court rejected all of defendant's claims and affirmed his conviction and sentence and concluded that, although the court recognized some possible errors, none of these were widespread or prejudicial enough to have fatally infected the trial or sentencing.
Lastly, in Mirisawo v. Holder, No. 08-1704, the court dealt with a petition for review BIA's decision affirming the IJ's removal order to remove petitioner from United States to Zimbabwe. The petitioner claimed that the BIA erred in finding that she failed to show that she suffered economic deprivation to amount to past persecution. But the court held that the BIA's judgment is supported by substantial evidence that the destruction of her house in Zimbabwe by the government was not an economic persecution, as she has never lived in that house, nor was it likely she ever will live in the partially remaining house. The court also affirmed the BIA's conclusion that petitioner's fear of future persecution was not objectively reasonable.
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