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The First Circuit denied the petition for review filed by Petitioner, a native and citizen of Honduras, seeking relief from the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming an immigration judge’s (IJ) denial of Petitioner’s application for withholding of removal (WOR) and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). In his application, Petitioner claimed that he had experienced past persecution and faced a clear probability of future persecution in Honduras on account of his family membership. The IJ determined that Petitioner failed to establish that he had suffered - or was likely to suffer in the future - harm that was sufficient to constitute persecution and related to his family membership. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review, holding that none of Petitioner’s claims warranted relief from the decisions of the IJ and BIA. View "Ruiz-Escobar v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for Plaintiffs in this alleging that certain assets should have been distributed to the estate of the decedent in this case, holding that the district court improperly granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs. In 2003, the decedent established an individual retirement account (IRA) with Mesirow Financial (Mesirow IRA) and designated Alyssa Jane D’Amore, his then-wife, as beneficiary. The couple divorced, but the decedent never revoked the beneficiary of the designation. The decedent later transferred the majority of his Mesirow IRA assets to a TD Ameritrade IRA. Upon the decedent’s death, Mesirow distributed the remaining assets in the Mesirow IRA to D’Amore. Plaintiffs, the primary beneficiary of the decedent and the executor of the decedent’s estate, filed suit against D’Amore, alleging that the Mesirow assets should have instead been distributed to the decedent’s estate. The district court granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs. The First Circuit reversed and remanded with directions to enter summary judgment for D’Amore, holding that because a request to transfer all assets was never made, the beneficiary designation was never revoked and D’Amore was entitled to the remaining assets in the account upon the decedent’s death. View "Cooper v. D'Amore" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The First Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for Plaintiffs in this alleging that certain assets should have been distributed to the estate of the decedent in this case, holding that the district court improperly granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs. In 2003, the decedent established an individual retirement account (IRA) with Mesirow Financial (Mesirow IRA) and designated Alyssa Jane D’Amore, his then-wife, as beneficiary. The couple divorced, but the decedent never revoked the beneficiary of the designation. The decedent later transferred the majority of his Mesirow IRA assets to a TD Ameritrade IRA. Upon the decedent’s death, Mesirow distributed the remaining assets in the Mesirow IRA to D’Amore. Plaintiffs, the primary beneficiary of the decedent and the executor of the decedent’s estate, filed suit against D’Amore, alleging that the Mesirow assets should have instead been distributed to the decedent’s estate. The district court granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs. The First Circuit reversed and remanded with directions to enter summary judgment for D’Amore, holding that because a request to transfer all assets was never made, the beneficiary designation was never revoked and D’Amore was entitled to the remaining assets in the account upon the decedent’s death. View "Cooper v. D'Amore" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of three federal post-conviction relief petitions filed under 28 U.S.C. 2255, holding that the three petitions were untimely. Petitioners in these consolidated appeals each pled guilty to a federal firearm offense, and each had a history of Maine state burglary convictions. Each petitioner filed a federal habeas petition alleging that they no longer qualified for a sentence enhancement under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) because the ACCA’s residual clause was invalidated by Johnson v. United States, 576 U.S. __ (2015) (Johnson II). All three petitions filed their habeas petitions outside of the one-year statute of limitations under 28 U.S.C. 2255(f)(1). Specifically, Petitioners alleged that their petitions were timely because Johnson II, which is retroactively applicable, was the source of their claims. The district court dismissed the petitions. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the federal habeas petitions were untimely because they raised Mathis v. United States, 579 U.S. __ (2016), claims, not Johnson II claims, and Mathis does not reset the statute of limitations under section 2255(f)(3). View "Dimott v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court sentencing Defendant enhancing Defendant’s offense level by four levels, resulting in a guideline sentencing range of seventy to eighty-seven months in connection with its finding that Defendant had been an organizer or leader of a conspiracy of five or more persons to procure and distribute cocaine and heroin. On appeal, Defendant argued that the evidence supported only a three-level enhancement for being a “manager or supervisor,” rather than an organizer or leader. The First Circuit disagreed, holding that the uncontested factual record supported the court’s conclusion that Defendant was the leader of the criminal activity at issue. View "United States v. Payne" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court sentencing Defendant enhancing Defendant’s offense level by four levels, resulting in a guideline sentencing range of seventy to eighty-seven months in connection with its finding that Defendant had been an organizer or leader of a conspiracy of five or more persons to procure and distribute cocaine and heroin. On appeal, Defendant argued that the evidence supported only a three-level enhancement for being a “manager or supervisor,” rather than an organizer or leader. The First Circuit disagreed, holding that the uncontested factual record supported the court’s conclusion that Defendant was the leader of the criminal activity at issue. View "United States v. Payne" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court sentencing Defendant to a 120-month term of imprisonment in connection with Defendant’s plea of guilty to possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and importation of five kilograms or more of cocaine into the United States. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in denying a mitigating role adjustment under United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.) section 3B1.2 and that his sentence was substantively unreasonable. The First Circuit disagreed, holding (1) the district court did not clearly err in denying Defendant a minor role adjustment; and (2) Defendant’s sentence was substantively reasonable. View "United States v. De-La-Cruz-Gutierrez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court sentencing Defendant to a 120-month term of imprisonment in connection with Defendant’s plea of guilty to possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and importation of five kilograms or more of cocaine into the United States. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in denying a mitigating role adjustment under United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.) section 3B1.2 and that his sentence was substantively unreasonable. The First Circuit disagreed, holding (1) the district court did not clearly err in denying Defendant a minor role adjustment; and (2) Defendant’s sentence was substantively reasonable. View "United States v. De-La-Cruz-Gutierrez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The First Circuit denied the petition filed by Petitioner, a Guatemalan national, seeking judicial review of a final order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying her application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT). At the conclusion of a removal hearing, an immigration judge (IJ) concluded that Petitioner was ineligible for either asylum or withholding for removal because she was unable to show that the harm she suffered in Guatemala was on account of a statutorily protected ground. The IJ also concluded that Petitioner did not qualify for CAT protection. After the BIA upheld the IJ’s decision, Petitioner sought judicial review. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, as to Petitioner’s application for asylum and for withholding of removal, the IJ and BIA supportably found that Petitioner failed to establish a nexus between the claimed harm and a statutorily protected ground. View "Perez-Rabanales v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denials of Defendant’s motions for suppression and severance and declined to vacate Defendant’s sentence. Defendant pled guilty to crimes related to the distribution of drugs. Defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence seized as a result of a stop and search of a taxi and also filed a motion to sever his trial from that of his codefendants and for relief from prejudicial joinder. The district court denied both motions after hearings. The sentencing judge sentenced Defendant to a term of imprisonment of thirty-six months, followed by thirty-six months of supervised release. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court properly denied Defendant’s motion to suppress and did not abuse its discretion in denying his motion to sever; and (2) Defendant’s sentence was substantively reasonable. View "United States v. Azor" on Justia Law