September 6, 2022, opinions

Designated for publication

  • U.S. v. Ansari, 21-50915, appeal from W.D. Tex.
    • Engelhardt, J. (King, Duncan, Engelhardt), criminal, Sixth Amendment, speedy trial, COVID-19, sufficiency of evidence
    • Affirming conviction of five counts from a 2011 indictment charging defendant and co-conspirators with “offenses arising from a well-orchestrated scheme to circumvent American export controls designed to prevent dual use commodities—goods with both civilian and military applications—from falling into the hands of adversaries like Iran.”
    • The Court rejected the defendant’s Sixth Amendment speedy trial arguments–his indictment issued in 2011 and his trial occurred in 2021. The Court found on its clear-error review that the defendant was at fault for the delay occasioned by his attempts to evade apprehension–“the chief cause of the delay with which he now perversely takes issue.” The Court also found “no shortage of diligence on the Government’s part.” “In sum, this is a case where a defendant who took steps to avoid being caught now faults the Government for not catching him sooner. That hardly warrants Sixth Amendment sympathies.” The defendant’s evasion of apprehension also cut against him on the speedy trial factor of his diligence in asserting his right to a speedy trial. In addition, the Court found that the defendant was unable to show prejudice from the delay.
    • The Court then held there was no Sixth Amendment violation occasioned by the trial court’s COVID-19 protocols, including the restriction of the public to an overflow room with live-streaming of the trial proceedings. “[B]ecause the Sixth Amendment requires only a substantial reason for a courtroom’s partial closure—and because it does not impose the science project Ansari would have the panel grade the district court on—we reject this argument as well.”
    • The Court then held that there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the convictions on all five counts.

Unpublished

  • U.S. v. Flores-Brewster, 20-40817, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Jones, Stewart, Duncan), criminal, sentencing
    • Affirming 85-month sentence on conviction of conspiring to transport illegal aliens.
  • U.S. v. Jalloul, 21-10434, appeal from N.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (King, Higginson, Willett), criminal, restitution
    • Affirming restitution order to repay $14,100,029.87 to the IRS as part of sentence on conviction of preparing false tax returns.
  • U.S. v. Lopez-Enciso, 21-11146, appeal from N.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Wiener, Elrod, Engelhardt), criminal
    • Granting Anders motion to withdraw, and dismissing appeal.
  • McZeal v. Louisiana, 21-30631, appeal from M.D. La.
    • per curiam (King, Duncan, Engelhardt), sovereign immunity, class action, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
    • Affirming dismissal of claims against state arising from attempted collection of insurance premiums that had not been deducted from retirement benefits, on sovereign immunity grounds; affirming dismissal of claims against individual state employees for failure to state a claim; and rejecting argument that trial court should have ruled on class certification before dismissing case.
  • U.S. v. Lawrence, 21-30759, appeal from E.D. La.
    • per curiam (Wiener, Elrod, Engelhardt), criminal, sentencing
    • Affirming 324-month sentence on conviction of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of heroin and a quantity of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl, conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and discharge of a firearm in a school zone.
  • U.S. v. Mascarenas-Jaramillo, 21-40108, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (King, Duncan, Engelhardt), criminal, sentencing
    • Affirming 168-month sentence on conviction of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.
  • Alcoser v. Ford, 21-50626, appeal from W.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Jones, Haynes, Oldham), prisoner suit
    • Affirming in part and dismissing in part the appeal from the dismissal of prisoner’s § 1983 claim.
  • U.S. v. Osorio-Mendez, 21-50651, c/w 21-50658, appeal from W.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Smith, Dennis, Southwick), criminal, sentencing
    • Granting summary affirmance of sentence on conviction of illegal reentry.
  • Samsonyan v. Garland, 21-60405, petition for review of BIA order
    • per curiam (Jones, Haynes, Oldham), immigration
    • Dismissing in part and denying in part Armenian citizen’s petition for review of BIA order denying his motion to reopen and remand and affirming the denial by an immigration judge (IJ) of his applications for adjustment of status and waiver of inadmissibility.
  • U.S. v. Gillingham, 22-10279, appeal from N.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Wiener, Elrod, Engelhardt), criminal
    • Granting Anders motion to withdraw, and dismissing appeal.
  • U.S. v. Vasquez, 22-10362, appeal from N.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Jones, Haynes, Oldham), criminal
    • Granting Anders motion to withdraw, and dismissing appeal.
  • U.S. v. Garcia, 22-20122, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Stewart, Duncan, Wilson), criminal
    • Granting Anders motion to withdraw, and dismissing appeal.
  • U.S. v. Wheaten, 22-30040, appeal from E.D. La.
    • per curiam (Jones, Haynes, Oldham), criminal
    • Granting Anders motion to withdraw, and dismissing appeal.
  • U.S. v. Preston, 22-40024, appeal from E.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Jones, Haynes, Oldham), criminal
    • Granting Anders motion to withdraw, and dismissing appeal.
  • Courtney v. U.S., 22-60131, appeal from S.D. Miss.
    • per curiam (Stewart, Duncan, Wilson), tax
    • Affirming dismissal of taxpayer’s claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and under the Anti-Injunction Act.