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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ind. Decisions - Two Indiana cases decided by 7th Circuit today

In U.S. v. Cantrell (ND Ind., Lozaon), an 8-page opinion by Judge Evans writes:

Although this is primarily a sentencing appeal, we begin by briefly addressing Cantrell’s preserved argument regarding his § 1346 conviction. While this case was pending on appeal, the Supreme Court decided Skilling v. United States, 561 U.S. ___, 2010 WL 2518587 (2010), Black v. United States, 561 U.S. ___, 2010 WL 2518593 (2010), and Weyhrauch v. United States, 561 U.S. ___, 2010 WL 2518696 (2010), all of which involved the honest services statute. In Skilling, the most comprehensive of the three opinions, the Court observed that “[t]he ‘vast majority’ of the honest-services cases involved offenders who, in violation of a fiduciary duty, participated in bribery or kickback schemes.” Skilling, 2010 WL 2518587, at *27. Based on this observation and a desire to avoid “taking a wrecking ball to a statute that can be salvaged through a reasonable narrowing interpretation,” id. at *28 n.44, the Court ultimately held that, “[i]nterpreted to encompass only bribery and kickback schemes, § 1346 is not unconstitutionally vague.” Id. at *30.

The indictment charged Cantrell with using his position as a public official of North Township of Lake County, Indiana,2 to secure contracts for Addiction and Family Care, Inc. (AFC), a counseling company owned by an acquaintance, Nancy Fromm, in exchange for a share of the proceeds from the contracts. By failing to fairly, honestly, and candidly award contracts, Cantrell defrauded North Township and its citizens of their right to his honest services. This was clearly a kickback scheme, so § 1346—even as pared down by Skilling— applies to Cantrell. As he presents no other challenge to his convictions, they will not be disturbed.

In US v. Carlisle (ND Ind., Lee), a 19-page opinion, Judge Flaum writes:
On February 18, 2008, Eddie Lamar Carlisle was arrested at the home of Michael Chapman during a drug sweep. Two officers caught Carlisle fleeing from the back of the house while two other officers entered the front door of the house. Carlisle was carrying a closed backpack with him. The officers searched the backpack and found marijuana, crack, a scale, a spatula, and packaging materials. Carlisle was charged with one count of knowingly possessing with intent to distribute five grams or more but less than fifty grams of a mixture containing a detectible amount of cocaine base and one count of possessing with intent to distribute marijuana. Carlisle moved to suppress the evidence found in the bag, arguing that the search violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The district court held a suppression hearing. At the hearing, Carlisle claimed that the backpack was not his and that someone in the house asked him to carry the bag to the garage. The district court denied the motion to suppress on the ground that Carlisle did not have standing to raise a Fourth Amendment challenge to the search of the bag because he did not have a privacy interest in the bag. Carlisle pleaded guilty but reserved his right to appeal the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress. Because we agree with the district court that Carlisle did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the bag, we affirm.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 11, 2010 01:25 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions