Criminal

In United States v. Pursley (on appeal to CA 5, Dkt. No. 20-20454), Pursley was convicted of 1 count of conspiracy related to tax and three counts of tax evasion, two for Pursley’s taxes and one for the taxes of another.  See the judgment here.  Pursley was a lawyer in Houston who enabled tax evasion by a client by moving untaxed monies from foreign accounts into the U.S. without accounting to the IRS for the unpaid tax.  Pursley’s client ultimately joined the OVDP, thus avoiding his own criminal exposure.  As required under the OVDP, the client had to disclose…
The only people who want to go to court are attorneys. For most, it’s a hassle to deal with parking, bureaucracy, and procedure. But if you’re facing charges, helping a loved one, or looking to get a vital outcome, going to court can be intimidating. First off, going through the Harris County Court experienced defense attorney who knows the local system. However, here are a few other things to know if you’re going to court in Houston, Texas. Harrison County Court: Where to Go If you were arrested and told… The post Appearing in Harris County Court: What to Expect?
In In re Grand Jury, Nos. 21-55085 & 21-55145 (9th Cir. 9/13/21), CA 9 here, the Court held that the “because of” test imported from the work-product context did not apply to the attorney-client privilege and instead applied a predominant purpose test for dual-purpose communications.  The opinion is short (14 pages) and the summary offered by the Court is good, so I just copy and paste the summary here. Grand Jury Subpoenas             The panel affirmed the district court’s orders holding appellants, a company and a law firm, in contempt for failure to comply with grand jury subpoenas related to a…
The issue of how religious advisors can attend condemned prisoners might seem like a trivial one. However, it has now led to the third postponement of an execution in Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of John Ramirez this month nearly three hours after he was slated to die. It marked the third time since 2019 that the nation’s highest court has stopped an execution in Texas over the state’s prison system’s stance on religious advisors attending condemned prisoners, the Texas Tribune reported. The court requested oral arguments be brought before the justices in October or November. Ramirez…
It is interesting to note that most federal cases never proceed to trial in a courtroom. That’s because roughly 90 percent of federal criminal cases are resolved with a plea bargain.   Federal prosecutors like to find resolution via plea bargains when they can. It saves time, money, and other crucial judicial resources that would be better used in other, larger, and more complicated cases.   But a plea bargain may not result in the best outcome for defendants or for the government, which is why reaching a deal can sometimes be a complicated process.   What is a plea…
Major drug cases in Texas frequently make as illustrated by a recent case in south Texas. An El Paso man is now facing up to life in prison and fines up to $10 million for possessing illegal drugs with the intent to distribute them. 112 grams of methamphetamine, 13 grams of marijuana, and 56 grams of cocaine were found in his possession, along with $10,000, when he was arrested outside of a hotel. How does drug possession lead to life behind bars? That is the demand of the law. Here’s what you need to know about possessing drugs with the…
In United States v. Shun, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161023 (W.D.N.Y. Aug. 25, 2021), Cl here, in a tax crimes prosecution (conspiracy and tax perjury), one of the questions discussed in the opinion is whether an attempt by IRS CI agents assisting the prosecutor in the case to interview an expert designated by the defense was a violation of the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel.  The discussion is short but instructive, so I just cut and paste (Slip Op. pp. 4-7):  Shun’s Motion for Relief Based on Violations of her Sixth Amendment Rights             On July 22, 2021,…
In Rodgers v. United States,   (9th Cir. 7/6/21), CA9 here (unpublished and nonprecedential), the Court held (based on a prior appeal) that the return preparer penalty under § 6694(b)(2)(A) for a “willful attempt in any manner to understate the liability for tax on the return or claim” requires “specific intent to understate tax liability on tax returns or claims.”  Basically, the panel held, the civil penalty requires the same level of intent as § 7206, which is the Cheek-type of intent – specific intent to violate a known legal duty.  (The panel opinion does not cite Cheek, but that is the…
I have written on the question of whether the willful blindness concept permits conviction of a knowledge element crime upon the finding of willful blindness or, instead, permits only an inference of the knowledge element upon showing willful blindness.  See blog entries here.  In other words, if the criminal statute requires a knowledge element, will a showing of willful blindness requireconviction or only permit conviction.  The key in jury cases is the instruction.  In United States v. Henson, ___ F.4th___, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 24818, at *37-38 (10th Cir. Aug. 19, 2021), CA10 hereand GS here, the…