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Showing posts from November, 2010

Defendants Who Knew Federal Law Made Cannabis Illegal Were Not Misled by Sheriff Who Assured Them That Their Marijuana Grow Was Legal.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment holding that defendants who knew that under federal law that cannabis remained illegal, and could not be prescribed by physicians, were not misled by county sheriff’s deputies who purportedly assured them that their marijuana grow operation was legal under federal law. Dale Shafer, an attorney, and Marion Fry, a physician were a married couple who operated a medical marijuana dispensary in California. The operation began after Fry was diagnosed with a condition for which marijuana was recommended to alleviate side effects of treatment. Shafer began cultivating marijuana for Fry’s use and informed the county sheriff of his operations. Sheriff’s deputies visited the operation many times and inspected the plants, even after the cultivation extended beyond personal use amounts and developed into a business.


Shafer and Fry were eventually indicted federally for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana plants. They moved to d…

Traffic Violation Citations Counted as Arrests to Calculate Criminal History Points

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court judgment which included traffic violation citations as “arrests” when calculating the defendant’s criminal history under U.S.S.G. § 4A1.2(a)(2). The Court agreed with the Seventh Circuit in its application of United States v. Morgan, which treated Leal-Felix’s traffic violations as arrests with regard to the Sentencing Guidelines. United States v. Morgan, 354, F .3d 621 (7th Cir. 2003).

In February 2005 Israel Leal-Felix plead guilty to aggravated felony of possessing a firearm by a convicted felon and was deported from the United States to Mexico. In March of 2009, Leal-Felix reentered the United States without applying for readmission after his deportation. Under a plea agreement, Leal-Felix pled guilty to a single-count of violating 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a) (illegal re-entry), for which the potential prison term is 20 years. The plea agreement provided that Leal-Felix would be sentenced to at the low end of the Sentencing Guidelines range, dete…

United States v. Redlightning: Confessions Before and After Voluntary Polygraph Not Illegal as the Result of Unlawful Detention or Failure to Promptly

The Ninth Circuit Court affirmed a district court judgment of conviction on Monday, October 25th. The Court held that confessions obtained during and after a voluntary polygraph examination were not illegal as a result of unlawful detention or failure to promptly present the defendant to a magistrate.

Rita Disanjh's body was found on the Lummi Indian Reservation in August of 1987. The pathologist was not able to rule out sexual assault but did determine that the victim had been killed by manual strangulation. In 2006, Athena Swope, daughter of Henry Redlightning's deceased partner, Patricia Dubbs, told police that Redlightning had been involved in the murder of a woman and that she had learned of this from her mother in 2003, to whom Redlightning had confessed.

In October 2007 Redlightning was interviewed by FBI agents and agreed to answer questions in a polygraph examination. During the polygraph examination Redlightning was asked "Did you sexually assault and kill Rita…