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United States v. Kohler, No. 8:15CR425-CEH (M.D. Fla. Mar. 15, 2022)
Compassionate Release Motion (filed under seal/unavialable)
Gov Response in Opposition (Sept. 7, 2021)
Motion for Leave to File Reply Brief (required in the MDFL)
Reply Brief (Oct. 7, 2021)
Order (Mar. 15, 2022)
Argument: Compassionate release grant for an 64-year-old individual with a host of medical conditions (obesity, pre-diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, an aortic aneurysm, chronic renal stones, an enlarged prostate, depression, likely post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a history of nearly fatal pancreatitis). Defendant argued that the medical conditional was dire because of the BOP’s failure to adequately diagnose, monitor, and treat his illness. This decision has good language about BOP’s failure to provide adequate medical care as the basis for finding extraordinary and compelling reasons for release. Importantly, this case came out of the MDFL, which can only argue extraordinary and compelling reasons as defined in the commentary to § 1B1.13. The court also held a hearing on this case via zoom in February 2022.
United States v. Thomas Spellissy, et al.
Spellissy was convicted on five counts, including one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, wire fraud and honest-services fraud. Of the other counts, the District Court either granted a post-trial motion for judgment of acquitted (bribery) or motion for a new trial (substantive wire fraud offenses). Spellissy exhausted his direct appellate rights, as well as, the collateral remedies provided by 28 U.S.C. §2255. He also completed his supervised release and is not currently serving any portion of his sentence.
Argument: In light of the Skilling decision, Spellissy petitioned for a writ of error coram nobis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), the All Writs Act, on this remaining conspiracy count. On December 29, 2010, the Court denied Spellissy's petition. Spellissy is appealing the denial to the 11th Circuit.
On August 16, 2011, the 11th Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision to deny Spellissy's petition for a writ of error coram nobis pursuant to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. 1651(a). The court determined that Spellissy's conviction was not based on the "conflict of interest" or "self-dealing" theories of honest services fraud since the jury was instructed on both bribery and wire fraud. Also, even if an error occurred, it was harmless and didn't have a "substantial and injurious effect" on the jury's verdict.
On March 22, 2013, the 11th Circuit affirmed the decision from the Middle District of Florida that the court did not err when it denied Spellissy's petition for writ of error coram nobis. Spellissy failed to demonstrate that the district court abused its discretion.
United States v. Vicki Lopez-Lukis
Lopez-Lukis, a former County Commissioner, was convicted in 1997 of a single count of honest services fraud. She is no longer in custody, having been released from prison in 2000. She was released early under a Grant of Clemency from President William J. Clinton. The sole count of the conviction was based upon lies Mrs. Lukis told to the press and the public regarding an illicit love affair she was then having with Mr. Lukis, who was at the time a lobbyist with interests before the County Commission and married to another woman.
Argument: In light of the Skilling decision, on January 31, 3011, Lopez-Lukis petitioned for a writ of error coram nobis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), the All Writs Act, on this one count conviction. The Government did not object to the petition. On February 14, 2010, the Court granted Lopez-Lukis' petition and vacated her conviction.
Shelton v. Sec’y, Dept. of Corrections
Amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Calvert Institute for Policy Research, and 38 law professors from across the United States.
Argument: Florida’s strict liability felony drug law runs afoul of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and is inconsistent with centuries of common law, sound public policy, and the norms of international legal systems and principles generally embraced by the United States.
Hummel v. United States
Amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in support of movant.
Argument: As applied to the substances at issue in this case – UR-144 and XLR-11 – 21 U.S.C. §813 and its accompanying definitional statute 21 U.S.C. §802(32)(A)(i) are unconstitutionally vague, and void for that reason.