United States Fifth Circuit

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US v. Williams, 07-20689

In a case involving a defendant's transport of 74 unlawful aliens, and the death of 19 of them after he left the aliens locked in the trailer of his tractor-trailer without activating the trailer's air conditioning unit, defendant's murder convictions are affirmed where: 1) the Government's articulated reasons for striking a veniremember were supported by the voir dire transcripts; and 2) it was not clear error for the district court to include defendant's first trip, during which he transported approximately 60 unlawful aliens, as part of the relevant conduct. However, his sentence is vacated where the district court erred in its definition of "act of violence" under the Federal Death Penalty Act and, under the correct definition, the evidence at trial cannot support a finding that the requisite threshold intent was met.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 06/25/2010
  • Published 06/25/2010

Judges

Court

  • United States Fifth Circuit

Counsel