United States v. Farah, No. 16-4363 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed Defendants Farah, Daud, and Omar's convictions and sentences for several federal offenses related to their participation in a conspiracy to join the foreign terrorist organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The court held that the record demonstrated that the district court conducted a sufficient inquiry into Farah's concerns about his attorney; the district court did not improperly instruct the jury as to conspiracy to commit murder and any error was harmless where there was overwhelming evidence that all three defendants understood they would engage in killing if they reached Syria; the district court did not err in refusing to instruct the jury on the affirmative defenses of combatant immunity and defense of others; the district court did not procedurally err by failing to consider the need to avoid disparities between their sentences and those of their coconspirators who entered guilty pleas; and defendants' sentences were not substantively reasonable where the district court varied below a properly calculated guidelines range.