Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pre-Hearing Sentencing Opinion?

Here's what I've got for today. I want to thank this office's AFPDs for their analysis. I also want to thank the readers. We've gotten some good feedback lately, and that's really nice and we appreciate it!


Direct Appeal



Defendant pleaded guilty to a single count of mail fraud (in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341) and was sentenced to 48 months of imprisonment. She appealed her sentence, arguing that the district court committed plain error by selecting her sentence based on the clearly erroneous premise that she had stolen one thousand money orders and five hundred cashier's checks. Appellate court agreed and vacated the sentence and remanded for resentencing.

Finding the trial court relied on erroneous factual predicates, and finding plain error by the trial court in doing so, the appellate court reversed the sentence and remanded the case. Both the lead opinion and a strongly worded concurring opinion disagreed with the district court, which, the opinions note, seemingly determined its sentence prior to the sentencing hearing by bringing its sentencing decision to the courtroom already prepared and merely asking for comments on it.

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