Two cases from the 11th so far today, one about bankruptcy and fraudulent transfers, and one criminal case touching briefly but perhaps importantly on Booker among other issues. By the way, you surely don't want an appellate judge to write about you, as the judge wrote in the bankruptcy case, "Although the briefs submitted here are not very informative about either the relevant facts or the precise issues ..." More below:
Reily v. Kapila starts off with a quote from Plato that may have something metaphorically to do with fraudulent transfers, and gets more obscure from there. Here is what the Court says the case is about, and you may understand it better than I:
The bankruptcy claim presented here, brought by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee, seeks avoidance of a $100,000 payment to a shareholder in the debtor corporations pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 548. The potential recovery of that payment under 11 U.S.C. § 550(a)(1) requires us to assess whether providing the unquantifiable key to a larger transaction can qualify a party as an “entity for whose benefit” a putatively voidable transfer is made. 11 U.S.C. § 550(a)(1) (2004). We believe that, under the circumstances presented here, “benefit” has been too broadly defined to meet the requirements of 11 U.S.C. § 550(a)(1).
US v. Frye is the criminal case, and it involves 4 issues, arising out of a guilty plea to charges of conspiracy-to-manufacture-meth and firearms offenses. (1) Was the guilty plea knowing and voluntary? Yes, despite some vaguely-described problems in the relationship between Frye and his counsel. (2) Can a defendant be convicted of a firearms charge if he has not been convicted of the underlying predicate offense? The question arises because he was charged with carrying firearms in connection with certain drug offenses that were different from the one he pleaded guilty to. The answer, says the Court as a matter of first impression in the Circuit, is "no problem" -- only the fact of the underlying crime, not a conviction of it, is required, and apparently other Circuits agree. (3) Was there a sufficient factual basis for the guilty pleas on the firearms counts? Yes -- he had the guns on him during his drug crimes, in a nutshell. (4) Was there a Sixth Amendment violation due to the enhancements for "leading role" and "risk to human life or the environment" for the meth-manufacturing charge? The Court again says "no problem," because defendant admitted facts from which (says the Circuit) the trial court could have found the basis for those enhancements. To some eyes, including mine, this part of the opinion will seem to be a stretch -- it can be viewed as allowing a judge to make findings of fact that extrapolate on things that the defendant admitted, rather than limiting the judge to the particular facts that defendant admitted. He didn't admit, for instance, that the meth-operation created any danger to life or environment; he admitted that protective gear was required to clear a meth lab, but that isn't quite the same thing, is it?