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Monday, October 27, 2008

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides 4 Indiana cases today

In US v. Castaldi (ND Ind., Judge Lorenzo) - a 14-page opinion, Judge Flaum writes:

Kenneth Castaldi appeals his conviction on thirteen counts of mail fraud and embezzle- ment from an employee benefits plan. The convictions stemmed from a grant that the Northwest Indiana District Council of Carpenters (the Union) obtained for the purpose of having the Northwest Indiana Joint Ap- prenticeship Committee (the JAC) teach certain classes to Union members. Castaldi, the director of the Joint Ap- prenticeship Committee, was convicted of stealing some of this grant money. Castaldi now raises a number of challenges to his conviction on appeal. He claims that (1) his indictment was legally insufficient; (2) the prosecu- tion improperly presented a mug shot to the jury; (3) the district court improperly excluded testimony as hearsay; (4) the government’s evidence on the mail fraud charge was insufficient to support a conviction; (5) the district court failed to properly consider the sentencing factors contained in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a); and (6) the government did not present sufficient evidence of his intent to embez- zle. For the reasons explained below, we affirm the judg- ment of the district court.
In US v. Franklin (SD Ind., Judge Tiner), a 19-page opinion, Judge Flaum writes:
Cleveland Franklin, Jr. was stopped by the Indianapolis Police Department on Decem- ber 1, 2005, and a subsequent search of his car led police to over 270 grams of crack cocaine hidden in the dash- board. Franklin pled guilty to one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and one count of carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. Before pleading guilty, Franklin raised a number of challenges to the search of his car, which he renews on appeal, along with various arguments about the indictment, the trial procedures, and his sentence. For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the district court.
In US v. Miller & Fines (ND Ind., CJ Miller & Judge Sharp), a 6-page opinion, Judge Easterbrook writes:
Leroy Miller took in Ricky Fines as a boarder at his farm. Both Miller and Fines are interested in guns. They bought, refurbished, and sold many weapons while Fines lived in Miller’s house. Both men cleaned guns on the same workbench—whether as a joint venture, or each working on individually owned weapons, is disputed but not important. When federal agents conducted a search in April 2004, they found three weapons in the house and 31 in a shed nearby. The guns in the shed had been wiped clean of fingerprints and wrapped in blankets; the jury was entitled to infer that Fines and Miller had moved the guns to the shed in anticipation of a search. And why should they fear a search? Because Fines had a felony conviction, and Miller (whose own record was clean) knew it. A jury convicted Fines of possessing weapons despite his con- viction, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1), and Miller of aiding and abetting Fines’s illegal possession. See 18 U.S.C. §2. Fines was sentenced to 48 months’ imprisonment and Miller to 10 months.

Miller contends that he is innocent, because he did not learn of Fines’s criminal history until shortly before the search, and that after learning of Fines’s conviction he did not allow Fines to handle guns—indeed, that the guns had been moved from the house to the shed before Fines became a boarder. * * *


In US v. Brandt (ND Ind., CJ Miller), a 14-page opinion, Judge Kanne writes:
Defendant Cory Lee Brandt and a co-defendant, Larry Adam Beck, were indicted on June 13, 2007, for crimes related to the sale of an AK-47 rifle on August 18, 2006. Beck was charged under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and Brandt was charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2) with making a false statement to federal agents. Beck pled guilty, and Brandt’s trial commenced on November 5, 2007. During trial, Brandt moved for a judgment of acquittal, arguing that the government had not proven all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The district court denied the motion, which Brandt did not renew. During the jury instruction conference, Brandt requested an instruction based on the “exculpatory no” doctrine. The district court denied the request, citing Brogan v. United States, 522 U.S. 398 (1998). Brandt appeals the district court’s denial of his motion for a judgment of acquittal and its refusal to grant the requested instruction. We affirm.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 27, 2008 12:58 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions