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Conviction in Drug-Distribution Conspiracy Upheld Over Claim of Gov't Breach of Plea

By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on June 15, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
In US v. Quesada, No. 08-2183, the court of appeals handled an appeal from a defendant's conviction and sentence on criminal charges revolving around a drug-distribution conspiracy.

The circuit court affirmed the judgment over a claim that the government breached a plea agreement by using defendant's proffer statement to prove the applicability of certain sentencing enhancements where: 1) the plea agreement rendered the terms of an earlier proffer letter no longer binding on the parties; and 2) consequently, because the government made no promises concerning the use of defendant's proffer in the plea agreement, the claim of breach was without merit.

In Bonilla-Morales v. Holder, No. 09-3676, a native of Honduras petitioned for review of a decision denying her application for asylum and related relief. However, the court of appeals denied the petition finding that: 1) her asylum claim failed as she did not show that the mistreatment that she and her family suffered was "on account of" her membership in a purported social group, nor did she show was entitled to a presumption of a well-founded fear of future persecution by the "MS-13 gang"; 2) since petitioner did not meet the burden of showing future persecution for asylum purposes, she cannot meet the higher burden needed to qualify for the withholding of removal; and 3) she failed to establish that it is more likely than not that she will be tortured upon returning to Honduras given the significant time span over which past incidents of torture occurred.   

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