Some of the tougher cases Michelle Anderson Barth has litigated in federal court are highlighted here. These trial and appellate results are not meant to suggest any particular result for prospective clients. Every case is different and results cannot be predicted. Nonetheless, Ms. Barth has over eighteen years of training, experience, and success in achieving justice for clients in federal court.
Ms. Barth appealed defendant's sentence claiming that the district court committed plain error during sentencing in a Hobbs Act robbery resulting in murder case in which the defendant received a 34 year sentence. Ms. Barth did not represent the defendant before the district court. The Second Circuit ordered a remand for resentencing to address the error. See United States v. James Smith, 2017 WL 4994463,---- Fed. Appx. ---- (2d Cir 2017).
On direct appeal, Ms. Barth filed an opening brief asserting, among other claims, that appellant's trial counsel provided ineffective assistance. After reviewing Ms. Barth's brief, the government agreed to a remand. The Second Circuit then ordered a remand to allow the appellant to withdraw his guilty plea, thereby vacating his felony conviction. See United States v. Martinez Granados, Case No. 15-4156, Hon. Judges Calabresi, Livingston, & Rakoff (by designation).
Ms. Barth appealed the defendant’s sentence claiming that an unlawful condition of supervision had been imposed after a conviction for 7 U.S.C. 2156 (a)(2)(A) (Attending Animal Fighting Venture). After reviewing Ms. Barth’s Opening Brief, the government agreed and moved for a remand. The Court remanded the case to vacate the condition challenged on appeal. United States v. Cruz, Appeal No. 18-662 (Hon. Judges Kearse, Winter, and Pooler)
Not guilty in drug smuggling/distribution case in which Ms. Barth's client was arrested with over 7 1/2 tons of marijuana. At the time, this was the largest drug seizure ever made at the Tecate, California Port of Entry. See United States v. Rodriguez, Case No. 03CR0738 (S.D. CA 2003), HON. THOMAS J. WHELAN
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Ninth Circuit remands for resentencing in illegal entry prosecution after holding that convictions for California Penal Code §§ 288(c)(1) [lewd and lascivious acts] and 12021(a)(1) [felon in possession] are not categorical crimes of violence warranting 16 level enhancement. See United States v. Ortiz-Ortiz, 373 Fed. Appx. 738 (9th Cir. 2010)
Mistrial ordered after jury was deadlocked (ten not guilty, two guilty) in drug smuggling/distribution case where over twenty-two kilograms of marijuana was hidden in a tire of the client's truck. The indictment was subsequently dismissed on motion by the government. See United States v. Brittain, Case No. 05CR1240 (S.D. CA 2005), HON. ROGER T. BENITEZ
Not guilty in alien smuggling trial where Ms. Barth's client was driving a car with an undocumented person hidden in the dashboard and allegedly confessed. See United States v. Medina Torres, Case No. 02CR2390 (S.D. CA 2002), HON. JUDITH N. KEEP
Photo: "Michelle Anderson (Barth) Celebrates Big Win!" Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc.
Remanding for district court error in failing to make specific findings required before imposing supervised release condition requiring that defendant submit to physiological testing and medication as directed by the probation officer. See United States v. Sperling, Case No. 09-50667 (9th Cir. filed Jan. 10, 2011) (not published in Federal Appendix or Reporter)
Won a civil action on behalf of plaintiff father in state court under the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The judge ordered the kidnapped child back to France and within 48 hours the child was home residing with the father. Bocquet v. Fabbri, Case No. D507581 (Super. Ct. CA 2007), HON. DAVID B. OBERHOLTZER.
Not guilty in drug smuggling/distribution case where over one hundred kilograms of marijuana were found inside a secret compartment built into the vehicle Ms. Barth's client was driving. See United States v. Castillo Rivera, Case No. 03CR3221 (S.D. CA 2003), HON. NAPOLEON A. JONES
Won a civil action on behalf of defendant mother in federal court under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, defending her against allegations that she kidnapped children from the plaintiff father who resided in France. Children were permitted to reside with mother in the United States. See Kalman Maklary v. Gina Maklary, Case No. 02CV1020 (S.D. CA 2002), HON. BARRY T. MOSKOWITZ
Not guilty in drug smuggling/distribution case where over thirty kilograms of marijuana were found in a secret compartment built into the floorboard of the client's vehicle. See United States v. Gustavo Hernandez Reyes, Case No. 02CR0658 (S.D. CA 2003), HON. NAPOLEON A. JONES
Mistrial ordered after jury was deadlocked (six not guilty, six guilty) where Ms. Barth's client was charged with illegal entry after deportation and allegedly confessed. The indictment was subsequently dismissed on motion by the government. See United States v. Jaimes Lopez, Case No. 04CR0698 (S.D. CA 2004), HON. LARRY A. BURNS.
Affirming sentence but holding that plain error standard does not apply simply “because a defendant raises a new argument on appeal that he did not raise before the district court.” See United States v. Gamez-Reyes, 772 F.3d 1152 (9th Cir 2014). Ms. Barth did not represent the appellant before the district court.
Mistrial ordered after jury was deadlocked in drug smuggling/distribution case where over fifty kilograms of marijuana were found in a secret compartment in the roof of the client’s vehicle and the client allegedly confessed. The drug charges were dismissed post-trial and Ms. Barth's client was offered a favorable disposition which resulted in a time-served sentence. See United States v. Castro Sotelo, Case No. 01CR1927 (S.D. CA 2001), HON. IRMA E. GONZALEZ
Initially, Ms. Barth's client was charged with attempting to smuggle undocumented people through the San Ysidro Port of Entry by running the port. After the client's initial arraignment, she was released on bond under the supervision of Pretrial Services. During her release, however, the client absconded and went to Mexico. She was arrested again when she attempted to run the same port of entry in a vehicle containing more undocumented people. The client was charged and arraigned on a superceding indictment alleging twelve counts of alien smuggling and violating court orders while on Pretrial release. The issues raised by these facts resulted in litigation related to the statutory interpretations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 4241, 4246, and the Speedy Trial Act. After multiple hearings involving experts and evidence of mental incompetence due to the client's multiple personality disorder, the government dismissed the charges. United States v. An Individual, 05CR1028 (CA S.D. 2005), HON. ANTHONY J. BATTAGLIA
The government filed an indictment charging Ms. Barth's client with two counts, one of which was for attempted entry after deportation in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326. Of the two counts, the 1326 offense exposed the client to a higher sentence. Before trial, Ms. Barth moved to dismiss the 1326 count on a theory that it failed to allege the requisite mens rea in the indictment. Ms. Barth's client was convicted after trial. Although the district court denied the pretrial motion, post-trial, upon renewal of that motion, the court vacated client's conviction on the 1326 count. The client was sentenced on the lesser offense only. See United States v. Munoz Ramirez, 01CR0153, (CA S.D. 2001), HON. M. JAMES LORENZ
Ms. Barth's client was arrested near Holtville, California when Border Patrol agents attempted to stop a car containing undocumented people. The agents used a spike strip to stop the car. When the car came to a stop, the agents captured the people and claimed, among other things, that all of the occupants of the vehicle admitted to being smuggled into the United States and all of the occupants identified Ms. Barth's client as the driver of the car. The majority of the witnesses were deported and only two were kept as material witnesses by the government to testify against Ms. Barth's client. After extensive pretrial investigation, Ms. Barth discovered that border patrol had beaten, threatened, and forced the witnesses to identify Ms. Barth's client as the driver. After depositions of the material witnesses and litigation before the district court about the government's outrageous conduct in this case, the government dismissed the charges against her client. See United States v. Guerrero Cruz, 02CR2464, (S.D. CA 2002), HON. THOMAS J. WHELAN