Denial of Habeas Relief for Murder of Mother-in-law Upheld, Plus Sentencing and Immigration Matters

By FindLaw Staff on August 17, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

US v. Donath, 09-2287, concerned a defendant's appeal of his conviction for his participation in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and other drugs and a below-guidelines sentence of 90-months' imprisonment.  In dismissing the appeal, the court held that defendant's waiver of his right to appeal his plea or sentence if it did not exceed 120 months as part of his plea agreement is enforceable and his argument that district court's error in calculating his sentence by mischaracterizing his prior crimes constituted a miscarriage of justice is meritless.


Grant v. Warden, Maine State Prison, 09-2362, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's request for habeas relief from his murder conviction of his mother-in-law.  In affirming the denial, the court held that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court's (SJC) application of the general standard announced in Mosley to the particular facts of defendant's case falls within the broad limits of reasonableness.  Further, regardless of whether the SJC described its analysis as a "totality of the circumstances" test or a four-factor test, its conclusion was not an unreasonable application of Mosley.

Ayeni v. Holder, 09-1508, concerned a Nigerian citizen's petition for review of the BIA's denial of his application for cancellation of removal.  In denying in part and dismissing in part, the court held that petitioner's claim that the BIA applied an incorrect legal standard fails on the merits and his remaining claims are dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

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