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Decisions In Criminal Matters, Plus Civil Rights Suit For First Amendment Retaliation

By FindLaw Staff on July 26, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

US v. Horn, 09-5090, concerned proceedings arising from defendant's motion for resentencing based on Guidelines Amendment 709, arguing that he was not a career offender under the amendment because his two prior robbery convictions would no longer count as separate offenses.  In reversing the district court's grant of the motion, the court held that the district court lacked the authority to resentence defendant because 18 U.S.C. section 3582(c)(2) and U.S.S.G. section 1B1.10 provide that the Commission's retroactivity determinations control whether district courts may resentence defendants and the Commission has not designated Amendment 709 for retroactive application.

US v. Hameed, 09-3259, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's motion for a reduction of his sentence under 18 U.S.C. section 3582(c)(2), in a prosecution for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  In affirming the denial, the court held that, although defendant's ultimate sentence was indeed "based on" the crack guidelines, and those regulations have since been lowered, they were not actually "applicable" to the departure he received pursuant to 18 U.S.C. section 3553(e) and U.S.S.G. section 5K1.1.

Paige v. Coyner, 09-3287, concerned a plaintiff's section 1983 suit against a county official and two county entities, claiming that defendants retaliated against her by calling for employer and saying false things about her after she raised concerns at a public hearing regarding a proposed interstate-highway project.  In reversing the district court's grant of defendant's motion to dismiss and sua sponte dismissal of the case against the remaining two defendants, the court held that the district court erred in dismissing plaintiff's claims under Rule 12(b)(6) by misapplying the Supreme Court's decision in Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991 (1982), as plaintiff has alleged all that she needs to in order to state a claim for relief under section 1983 against all three defendants.

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