November 19, 2012 4th Circuit published opinions

United States v Edmonds

The 4th circuit affirmed Edmonds sentence in a crack cocaine trafficking case. The United States Supreme Court vacated that decision and remanded for further proceedings as Edmonds committed his crimes before the fair Sentencing Act was in effect, but, was sentenced after it came into effect and should have been sentenced in accordance with the Act. The panel on remand reaffirmed all the holdings in the previous opinion as to facts and findings at sentencing. However, it vacated the sentence and remanded to the district court for resentencing which will include applying the Act and may include revisiting any factual issues.

Viegas v Holder

Viegas was a dues paying member of a separatist group in Angola.  Viegas was arrested after a peaceful protest and beaten while imprisoned. He illegally entered the united sates and petitioned for cancelation of removal. The government argued the group engaged in attacks on Angolan government troops and property and also attacked civilians and thus met the definition of a terrorist group. The immigration judge found that paying dues to and hanging posters for the group was material support of a terrorist group and denied the petition. Viegas did receive deferral of removal based on the torture convention. The immigration appeals board affirmed. The panel also affirmed. It held that the record demonstrated the group in question is a terrorist group and that the government met its burden. As Viegas presented no evidence of the peaceful faction he claimed to belong to, the immigration judge’s findings are not clearly erroneous. The panel held that Viegas should have known the group engaged in terrorist acts as he testified he had heard reports of such attacks and his own experts admitted parts of the group attacked government property and kidnapped foreigners for ransom. The panel held Viegas’ payment of dues for 48 months was material within the meaning of the statute.

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