United States v. Espinal, No. 09-4344-cr (2d Cir. March 7, 2011) (Walker, Straub, Lynch, CJJ)
Here, the district court did not properly follow 21 U.S.C. § 851(b), which sets out the procedures for using a prior felony information to increase the mandatory minimum sentence in a drug case. Because both the defendant and the government were prejudiced, the circuit remanded the case for resentencing.
The government had offered to permit defendant Santo Laiz to plead guilty to a drug offense with a ten-year mandatory minimum and agreed to refrain from filing a prior felony information. But Laiz pled guilty after the deadline, by which time the government had filed the information, which alleged that Laiz had been convicted of a felony drug offense in Massachusetts under the name “Jose Luis Lai.” During Laiz’ guilty plea, the court did not ask him whether he admitted to the conviction.
In his …