US v. Bunchan, 09-2144

By FindLaw Staff on November 24, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Defendant's conviction and sentence for use of interstate commerce in the commission of murder-for-hire and related offenses

US v. Bunchan, 09-2144, concerned a challenge to a district court's conviction of defendant for use of a facility of interstate commerce in the commission of murder-for-hire and solicitation to commit a crime of violence, and imposition of a 300-month sentence.

In affirming, the court rejected defendant's constructive amendment claim as the district court instructed the jury on the specific obstruction of justice felony at issue, the murdering of witnesses, and it properly told the jury that this felony includes as an element physical force against a person or property.  The court also rejected defendant's claim that the district court improperly instructed the jury as to its power to nullify is rejected.  Lastly, the court held that defendant's sentence is substantively reasonable and, because the murder-for-hire conduct was only one of seven independent factors considered in calculating defendant's fraud sentence, district court's decision to have the first sixty months of defendant's 300-month sentence run concurrently with the fraud sentence is also reasonable.

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