The Tenth Circuit on Tuesday issued four published opinions and three unpublished opinions.
In United States v. Hall, the Court affirmed the district court’s conviction. Petitioner was indicted for bank robbery, amongst other offenses, and stipulated that he had two prior felony convictions, making no need for the government to enter them into evidence. However, the entire indictment, including his two prior bank robberies, were mistakenly read to the jury and Petitioner moved for a mistrial. The Court found that the district court’s denial of Petitioner’s motion was appropriate, as it was harmless error; he would have undoubtedly been convicted anyway and his own testimony at trial entered the prior felonies into evidence.
In United States v. Wampler, the Court refused to accept Petitioners’ interlocutory appeal and deferred review of their arguments until after trial. Respondent United States alleged that Petitioners’ company secured loans and tax credits from the federal government far in excess of their project’s merits, pocketing a small fortune with the remainder. Both sides began plea negotiations, with a proposed agreement not to prosecute never being finalized. However, Petitioners must await a final judgment before appeal, and their “right not to be tried” must come from some constitutional or statutory provision for an interlocutory appeal. As none apply, the Court had no jurisdiction over the matter.
In Thomas v. United States Disciplinary Barracks, the Court affirmed the military court’s summary dismissal of Petitioner’s habeas corpus petition. A military court convicted Petitioner in absentia for desertion and various sex crimes, and he later faced further criminal charges after his arrest in Germany. The Court found that “the thoroughness and adequacy of the briefing in this case, together with the broad deference we grant to the military in collateral review of court-martial convictions, supports the district court’s determination that [Petitioner]’s claims received full and fair consideration by the military court.”
In United States v. Pablo, the Court affirmed the district court’s conviction. Petitioner was convicted of rape, kidnapping, assault, and carjacking, but alleges that the district court erred by depriving him his 6th Amendment confrontation rights and by excluding evidence under FRE 412. However, the confrontation clause challenge fails as the DNA testimony was given by an expert witness and it was permissible for that testimony to rely on notes of other lab technicians. Additionally, the Court found that the evidence of the alleged victim’s intoxication, sought to be introduced by Petitioner, would have impermissibly been offered to prove the alleged victim’s sexual predisposition.