Convictions in Tax Fraud Case Affirmed; IADA, Severance, Sentencing Claims Rejected

U.S. v. Pursley, 2007 WL 64833 (1/11/07) - The anti-shuffling provision of the federal Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act was not violated when, pursuant to a writ of habeas ad prosequendum, the defendant was transferred from federal custody for a day to be arraigned in state court. While the length of time a defendant is returned to another jurisdiction's custody doesn't matter, the defendant here was not "returned to his original place of imprisonment" within the meaning of the IADA because he was not given over to the state to continue service of his already-imposed state prison sentence, but for a different set of charges that he had not yet been convicted of.

While stressing a defendant has a "difficult" burden to overturn a denial of a motion to sever, the 10th holds it was not an abuse of discretion to deny such a motion in this case. The defendant had successfully shown that his defense was antagonistic to his co-defendant's defense. The defendant claimed he knew nothing about his co-defendant's plan to collect tax refunds by filing false tax returns in the defendant's and other prisoners' names. The co-defendant claimed the tax returns were perfectly legitimate. But, conflicting defenses is not enough to obtain a severance and he had not shown sufficient prejudice resulting from joinder, since he could present evidence on behalf of his defense and, if the jury bought the co-defendant's defense, he would be acquitted also.

It was not a violation of Double Jeopardy to impose consecutive sentences for aiding and abetting and conspiracy with respect to the same principal offense. Aiding and abetting and conspiracy have different elements.