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An Ohio Company's Suit Against Venezuela In Ohio Federal District Court, Plus Criminal Cases

By FindLaw Staff on September 23, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

US v. Franklin, 08-2195, concerned a challenge to the district court's sentence, in a prosecution of defendant, a former police officer and armored truck employee, for robbing ATM machines and an armored truck at gunpoint.  In affirming the sentence, the court held that defendant's arguments that the district court had authority to consider his mandatory minimum sentence when determining his sentence for the underlying offenses, and that Kimbrough overruled Franklin II, are without merit.  Thus, district court's sentence is reasonable as defendant's sentence of 97 months' imprisonment is within the guidelines range and thus presumptively reasonable, and defendant has not provided any basis to overcome the presumption.  Lastly, defendant's claim that the district court should have considered post-sentencing rehabilitation in his Booker resentencing is without merit.


Hoffner v. Bradshaw, 08-4013, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's request for habeas relief from a conviction for aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, robbery and a sentence of death.  In affirming, the court held that the district court correctly denied defendant's request for habeas relief on his claim that the trial court violated his due process rights by improperly weighing the statutory aggravating factors of his crime.  Also, the district court properly rejected a claim that his trial counsel performed ineffectively at the guilt phase of trial as these claims were procedurally defaulted.  The court held that the state court's resolutions of defendant's first two claims of ineffective assistance of counsel at the penalty phase were not an unreasonable application of federal law, and defendant has waived his third claim, that the district court properly denied defendant's request for habeas relief on his claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel.  Lastly, the Ohio Supreme Court's application of federal law in affirming the admission of defendant's statements was reasonable, and held that defendant's claim of cumulative error is procedurally defaulted.

DRFP LLC v. Republica Bolivariana De Venezuela, 09-3424, involved an Ohio limited liability company's suit against Venezuela and its Ministry of Finance in the federal district court in Columbus, Ohio, for refusing payment on two promissory notes held by the plaintiff.  In affirming the district court's judgment denying defendant's motion to dismiss in part, the court held that the plaintiff had the right to designate the United States as a place of payment of the notes and successfully satisfied its burden of production in establishing that the commercial activity exception of section 1605(a)(2) of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act applies, and Venezuela has not carried its burden of persuasion that the exception does not apply.  However, the court reversed and remanded the district court's judgment on the issue of forum non conveniens because the district court's ruling was based upon the first part of the rule, and did not reach the second-step of the analysis, the private and public interests.

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