December 28th, 2021
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
United States v. Okulaja
Opinion Date: December 27, 2021
Judge: Jacques Loeb Wiener, Jr.
Areas of Law: Criminal Law
The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for using two counterfeit passports to open bank accounts, but vacated his sentence and remanded for resentencing. The court concluded that the district court did not err, let alone abuse its discretion, in admitting two webcam photos in evidence where the photos were properly authenticated. The court also concluded that any error in excluding the photo of the fake driver's license was harmless. However, the court concluded that the district court clearly erred in calculating defendant's guideline range when it used USSG 1B1.3(a)(2)'s broad definition of relevant conduct, even though that provision does not apply to defendant's offenses of conviction. Furthermore, application of the correct definition would have left defendant with a guidelines range of 10-16 months for each count, rather than the 27-33 months for each count that the district court calculated.
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