Decisions In Criminal and Environmental Law Matters
US v. Sebastian, 08-2533, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a 193-month sentence and ten years of supervised release in a prosecution of defendant for leading a cocaine drug conspiracy. In affirming the sentence and the terms of the condition on supervised release, the court held that there is no plain error in requiring defendant to comply with a pornography ban as a condition of his supervised release if and only as required by any treatment program he may attend. The court also held that there is nothing in the record that shows that even if the court had discretion to reduce the mandatory minimum sentence on disparity grounds the court would have imposed a more lenient sentence.
US v. Figueroa-Cartagena, 08-2110, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for aiding and abetting a carjacking that resulted in death and other related crimes. In affirming in part, the court held that sufficient evidence supported defendant's conspiracy conviction and the carjacking conviction. However, the court reversed defendant's conviction for the firearm count as, it was unreasonable for the jury to find defendant guilty in the absence of any proof that she knowingly facilitated the use or carriage of the firearm. Lastly, the court rejected defendant's evidentiary and procedural arguments in support of her request for a new trial are rejected.
US v. Castro-Davis, 08-2108, concerned a challenge to the convictions of defendants for conspiracy to commit carjacking, aiding and abetting a carjacking resulting in death, and using or carrying a firearm in connection with a carjacking. In affirming for the most part, the court held that sufficient evidence supported the convictions of both defendants, that a recorded conversation of one of the defendants with his mother was properly admitted, and that the prosecution's statements at issue do not warrant a new trial. However, the court held that defendants' life sentences should be vacated and remanded for resentencing as the statutory penalty for carjacking resulting in death is "any number of years up to life" under 18 U.S.C. section 2119(3).
City of Pittsfield v. U.S. Envtl. Prot. Agency, 09-1879, involved a city's petition for review of the Environmental Protection Agency's grant of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the city's wastewater treatment plant, seeking changes to the terms of the permit. In affirming the Environmental Appeals Board's denial of review, the court held that the Board did not err in holding that the city had procedurally defaulted because its petition failed to identify its specific objections to the permit or to articulate why the Board should assume jurisdiction.