February 8, 2023, opinions

Designated for publication

  • U.S. v. Bleuler, 21-20658, c/w U.S. v. Murta, 22-20377, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • Engelhardt, J. (Graves, Willett, Engelhardt), criminal, vagueness, timeliness, jurisdiction, Miranda rights
    • Reversing judgment suppressing defendants’ statements made during an interview and dismissing counts against defendants arising from international bribery scheme, and remanding for further proceedings.
    • The Court reversed the district court’s judgment that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act over the extra-territorial actions of the defendants. The Court held that, for criminal cases, the only subject-matter jurisdiction constraint is that the defendant be charged with violating a criminal statute of the United States, and that extraterritoriality did not factor into the analysis. “[B]ecause extraterritoriality concerns the merits of the case, not the court’s power to hear it, the district court erred in concluding that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over these counts.”
    • The Court reversed the dismissal of the indictments against the defendants under the FCPA, agreeing with the government’s position that the indictment sufficiently alleged that they were both agents of a domestic concern and that one of them was also liable as a person who acted while in the U.S.
    • The Court then held that the term “agent” in the FCPA is not unconstitutionally vague. “[C]onsidering that Defendants’ statuses as agents implicate the merits of the case, not the court’s subject-matter jurisdiction, the court’s conclusion that the term ‘agent’ is unconstitutionally vague ‘when used as a basis for jurisdiction’ is unsound.” The Court additionally held that the lack of statutory definition of “agent,” such that it would be governed by its common-law meaning, also did not render it unconstitutionally vague. “A person of common intelligence would have understood that Defendants, allegedly setting up accounts on behalf of others to obfuscate the source of monies knowingly derived from an illegal bribery scheme, ‘w[ere] treading close to a reasonably-defined line of illegality’ under an agency theory of liability.”
    • The Court held that the money-laundering statutes contemplated defendants’ conduct occurring in part in the United States even where their wholly extra-territorial actions facilitated transactions in the United States.
    • The Court held that the five-year statute of limitations was effectively tolled as to defendant Murta by a mutual legal assistance treaty request.
    • The Court then overturned the district court’s grant of a motion to suppress statements from an interview of Murta while in Portugal, holding that he was not in “custody” at the time of the un-Mirandized interview.


  • U.S. v. Martinez, 21-11238, appeal from N.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Stewart, Willett, Oldham), criminal, sentencing
    • Affirming conviction and 37-month sentence for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • Poghosyan v. Garland, 21-60587, petition for review of BIA order
    • per curiam (Dennis, Elrod, Ho), immigration
    • Denying Armenian citizen’s petition for review of BIA order denying motion to reopen and dismissing appeal of IJ’s denial of motion to reopen.
  • Jenkins v. TriWest Healthcare Alliance, 22-30429, appeal from E.D. La.
    • per curiam (Smith, Clement, Wilson), medical malpractice
    • Affirming dismissal of medical malpractice suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
  • U.S. v. Hernandez-Estrada, 22-40563, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (King, Higginson, Willett), criminal
    • Granting Anders motion to withdraw, and dismissing appeal.
  • U.S. v. Krupalla, 22-50685, appeal from W.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Davis, Duncan, Engelhardt), criminal, supervised release
    • Affirming supervised release term regarding probation officer’s ability to find that defendant presents a risk to another person.
  • Moore v. Moore, 22-60653, appeal from S.D. Miss.
    • per curiam (Davis, Smith, Douglas), § 1983
    • Affirming dismissal of § 1983 claim arising from inheritance dispute regarding pickup truck.