United States v. Villafuerte, Docket No. 06-1292-cr (2d Cir. September 21, 2007) (Walker, Cabranes, CJJ, Goldberg, DJ)
United States v. Hirlman, Docket No. 05-3677 -cr (2d Cir. September 27, 2007) (Winter, Walker, Sack, CJJ)
These two cases, although not related, together provide new insights into an extremely important area – the need to preserve sentencing issues for appeal.
Villafuerte is a very disturbing case. For nearly two decades, the conventional wisdom in the Second Circuit has been that appellate claims relating to the procedural aspects of sentencing – e.g., whether the court understood its departure authority, made adequate legal findings in support of an enhancement, or gave the defendant an opportunity to allocute – would be reviewed on appeal, even where there was no specific objection pointing out the procedural failing.
Villafuerte changes all that. In this case, the Circuit holds that the most common post-Booker claims about procedural unreasonableness …