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Conviction for Harboring Aliens For Financial Gain Affirmed, Plus Administrative Matter

By FindLaw Staff | Last updated on

US v. Li, 09-2229, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for harboring an alien for commercial advantage or private financial gain.  In affirming the conviction, the court held that a reasonable jury could have concluded that defendant's inattentiveness reflected his knowledge or reckless disregard of the two aliens' illegal status.  The court also held that the evidence supports an inference that defendant sought to conceal the aliens' presence, and an inference that defendant derived financial advantage from the aliens' illegal status.  The court held that defendant's challenge to the jury instruction regarding the mens rea required to convict for harboring an alien is waived, and given the potential punishment the district court could have assessed, the forfeiture of defendant's home is not so grossly disproportionate to the gravity of his convictions as to be excessive.

Larson v. Astrue, 09-4037, concerned a challenge to the district court's affirmance of an ALJ's conclusion that petitioner's impairments, although severe, are not disabling, in petitioner's application for Supplemental Security Income, claiming that she is disabled by anxiety, depression, and ankle pain.  In reversing, the court held that the ALJ erred by failing to give controlling weight to petitioner's treating physician's opinion about the limitations on petitioner's social functioning and her experience with episodes of decompensation, and as such, petitioner's condition meets the standards of the Listing, and the ALJ should have found petitioner disabled at Step 3.  Court also held that ALJ's reasons for his adverse credibility ruling find no support, and thus, the credibility determination cannot stand.

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