United States v. Mikhel

The Hostage Taking Act does not require proof of a nexus to international terrorism. The Ninth Circuit affirmed Defendant Mikhel and Kadamovas's convictions and death sentences for several federal crimes, including multiple counts of hostage taking resulting in death under the Hostage Taking Act. Defendants raised numerous issues on appeal. The panel held that the Act was a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Necessary and Proper Clause together with the Treaty Power, and rejected defendants' Tenth Amendment challenge; defendants' motion for recusal of the district judge was untimely and failed on the merits; defendants' Batson challenge failed because defendants did not meet their burden of demonstrating race was a substantial motivating factor; the district court did not err by empaneling an anonymous jury; defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a public trial was not violated; there was no error in the jury instruction; and the panel rejected defendants' remaining guilt phase claims. Furthermore, the panel rejected defendant's penalty phase claims and held that the district court either did not err or any error was harmless. View "United States v. Mikhel" on Justia Law