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In 1991, Valerio, a citizen of Costa Rica, entered the U.S. without inspection. She was apprehended and placed in deportation proceedings but failed to appear. Valerio's then-boyfriend purchased her a birth certificate and social security card in the name of Rosa Hernandez, a U.S. citizen who lived in Puerto Rico. From 1995-2007, Valerio used Hernandez's identity to secure employment, open lines of credit, purchase cars and a home, and defraud the government of over $176,000 in housing assistance, food stamps, and other welfare benefits. In 2006, Hernandez learned about the fraud. Valerio was apprehended and was found guilty of aggravated identity theft, 18 U.S.C. 1028A and three counts of mail fraud. 18 U.S.C. 1341. After Valerio served her sentence, DHS reopened Valerio’s deportation proceeding but mistakenly stated that she was subject to removal. An IJ denied her applications for asylum and withholding of removal, finding the conviction for aggravated identity theft a "particularly serious crime" under section 1231(b)(3)(B)(ii). Following a remand, the BIA concluded that in deportation and removal proceedings alike, its longstanding multi-factor "Frentescu" framework for determining whether a nonaggravated felony qualifies as a "particularly serious crime" remains the same, and again found Valerio ineligible for withholding. The First Circuit agreed. The nature and circumstances of Valerio's crime were fully and properly considered." View "Valerio-Ramirez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit remanded this immigration case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) due to its insufficient explanation of why the least culpable conduct prohibited under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, 2 is morally reprehensible, and why the statute’s requirement of “malice,” as construed by Massachusetts courts, qualifies the crime as a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT). Petitioner, a native and citizen of the Dominican Republic, was charged as removable. Petitioner denied his removability and, in the alternative, requested several forms of relief. Petitioner was previously convicted of the crime of Massachusetts arson. The immigration judge (IJ) concluded that Petitioner’s Massachusetts crime was categorically a CIMT. The IJ also found Petitioner ineligible for relief from removal on the basis that he failed to prove that his conviction was not an aggravated felony. The BIA dismissed Petitioner’s appeal in an opinion that replicated the IJ’s reasoning. The First Circuit granted Petitioner’s petition for review, vacated the BIA’s opinion, and remanded for further proceedings for the reasons set forth above. View "Rosa Pena v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the Tax Court’s decision upholding the Commissioner’s notice of deficiency against Transupport, Inc. The notice of deficiency reduced Transport’s cost of goods sold, reduced deductions it took for compensation paid to four employee-shareholders, and assessed a twenty percent accuracy-related penalty for tax years 2006 through 2008. This was the Tax Court’s second opinion in this case, the first of which addressed whether Transupport committed fraud. The First Circuit affirmed the Tax Court’s decision in Transupport II, as to which this appeal was taken, holding that the Tax Court (1) did not make errors of law or err in its findings of fact when upholding the notice of deficiency’s adjustment to deductions Transupport took for compensation paid to the employee-shareholders; (2) did not clearly err in determining Transupport’s gross profit percentage with regard to the cost of goods sold; and (3) did not clearly err in applying the accuracy-related penalty. View "Transupport, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress, holding that the seizure of contraband in Defendant’s undershorts did not violate the “plain feel” doctrine. During a pat-down incident to a Terry stop, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent discovered a softball-sized object stashed in Defendant’s undershorts. The agent arrested Defendant under the suspicion that the object was contraband. A subsequent search of Defendant’s person confirmed the agent’s suspicion that the object contained controlled substances. The district court denied Defendant’s motion to suppress. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, under the totality of the circumstances, the search and seizure were reasonable, and thus, Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated. View "United States v. Rasberry" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the sentence imposed in connection with Defendant’s conviction for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. The district court sentenced Defendant to ninety-five months imprisonment. In calculating Defendant’s sentence, the district court applied three enhancements: a two-level enhancement for possession of a stolen gun, a four-level enhancement for using a gun in connection with another felony, and a two-level enhancement for obstructing justice by committing perjury at trial. On appeal, Defendant challenged the district court’s application of these enhancements. the First Circuit affirmed, holding that there was no error in the district court’s imposition of the three enhancements. View "United States v. Colby" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s convictions for tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant and for obstructing the due administration of justice. On appeal, Defendant argued, among other things, that a series of errors occurred at his trial that either singly or in combination required reversal of his convictions. The First Circuit disagreed, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence to support both convictions; (2) the district court erred in admitting into evidence a certain email, but the error was harmless; and (3) there were either no individual errors or the objections to the alleged errors were waived, with the sole exception being the admission of the email into evidence, but because the error was harmless, Defendant’s cumulative error argument was without merit. View "United States v. Ducoudray-Acevedo" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review of an order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which declined Petitioner’s petition for review of a decision of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposing fines for violations related to an accident at a construction worksite in Massachusetts. Before the First Circuit, Petitioner argued that OSHA wrongly held it responsible for the acts and omissions of a subcontractor. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the administrative law judge’s findings of fact were supported by substantial evidence considering the record as a whole. View "A.C. Castle Construction Co. v. Acosta" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner’s applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture Act (CAT). In her applications, Petitioner, a citizen of El Salvador, claimed that she was persecuted, and faced future persecution, at the hands of Salvadorian gang members on account of her family membership. An immigration judge (IJ) credited Petitioner’s testimony as true but nonetheless denied relief. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) Petitioner could not satisfy her claim for asylum, and therefore, she also could not satisfy her claim for withholding of removal; and (2) Petitioner provided no basis by which the court should reverse the BIA’s decision denying her protection under the CAT. View "Villalta-Martinez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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A trial court that wishes to us the McDonnell Douglas framework, see McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802-804 (1973), as part of its jury instructions should translate it into everyday parlance and fit it to the facts and circumstances of a particular case. In this case alleging violations of federal and state law, including the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act, the First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court entering a take-nothing verdict in favor of Defendants. Plaintiff moved for a new trial, arguing, among other things, that the district court erred in employing the McDonnell Douglas framework in its jury instructions. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court’s jury instructions as a whole were satisfactory. View "Teixeira v. Town of Coventry" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the district court’s order granting summary judgment to Appellee Omni Hotels Management Corporation (“Omni”) in this negligence action brought by Appellant Henry Mu. Mu was assaulted by an unidentified group of individuals in the lobby of the Omni Providence Hotel, which Omni operated. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Omni, ruling that Omni owed Plaintiff no legal duty, Plaintiff failed to make out the relevant standard of care and show a breach of that standard, Plaintiff failed to show causation, and Plaintiff’s allegations of evidentiary spoliation did not warrant a negative inference in his favor. The First Circuit disagreed, holding that Plaintiff’s negligence claim was sufficient to survive summary judgment. View "Mu v. Omni Hotels Management Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury