Archive | youthful offender adjudication

Friday, December 8th, 2017

Judge Weinstein on Incapicitory Sentencing

Today Eastern District Judge Weinstein issued a carefully researched opinion explaining the relatively lengthy—and in one case statutorily mandated—sentences of three adolescent defendants who each pled guilty to one count of brandishing a firearm. The opinion, available here, includes a balanced and detailed critique of the current methods to punish and rehabilitate young offenders who commit violent crimes, but for whom lengthy prison sentences are not necessarily appropriate.

From Judge Weinstein’s opinion:

Defendants—all adolescents—were gang-members, typically from impoverished and broken families.

They present the court with a number of troubling sentencing issues: (1) the need to prevent future acts of violence by gang members who, because of their home environment, and past affiliations, may be unable to escape the strictures of gang control; (2) the requirement that a sentencing court consider a defendant’s age, potential for rehabilitation, and culpability when crafting a sentence; (3) the limited ability of the

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Categories: mandatory minimum, sentencing, sentencing findings, youthful offender adjudication

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Friday, May 6th, 2016

Summary Order Reaffirms Second Circuit Rule that Youthful Offender Adjudications Can Count as Crimes of Violence under the Guidelines even after Sellars

There is only one summary order today, United States v. Oscar Cardoza, 15-1602-cr. The Second Circuit reaffirmed its rule that a New York youthful offender adjudication counts as a crime of violence under USSG 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii), if the nature of the proceedings, the sentence received, and the actual time served shows that the state treated the conviction as an adult conviction. See United States v. Pereira, 465 F.3d 515, 520-22 (2d Cir. 2006); United States v. Reinoso, 350 F.3d 51, 54 (2d Cir. 2003). The Court distinguished its holding in United States v. Sellars, 784 876 (2d Cir. 2015) that a youthful offender conviction does not qualify as a violent felony under ACCA on the ground that ACCA explicitly excludes convictions that are deemed “set aside” under state law, while there is no such provision in the guideline.…

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Categories: crime of violence, youthful offender adjudication

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Sunday, February 20th, 2011

The Youth Won’t Set You Free

United States v. Conca, No. 09-4475-cr (2d Cir. February 15, 2011) (Miner, Straub, Livingston, CJJ)

The Second Circuit has long held that a New York State youthful offender adjudication (a “y.o.”), counts as an adult conviction in the Sentencing Guidelines. In this long opinion, which covers absolutely no new ground, the court says so again.

In New York, first offenders between sixteen and nineteen years old are eligible for treatment as a youthful offender. If granted, the conviction is set aside and replaced with a y.o. adjudication, which carries more lenient penalties, is not treated as a conviction and does not trigger certain civil disabilities. However, unlike a juvenile offender, if sentenced to imprisonment, a youthful offender serves the sentence in an adult facility.

Conca received a long federal sentence for failing to register as a sex offender. Both in the district court and in the court of appeals he …

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Categories: Uncategorized, youthful offender adjudication

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Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Youthful Indiscretion

United States v. Parnell, No. 06-4551-cr (2d Cir. April 23, 2008) (Winter, Straub, Sack, CJJ) (per curiam)

In this case, the court again holds that a New York youthful offender adjudication (a “y.o.”) – here, it was for attempted burglary in the second degree – must be included in the defendant’s criminal history score under the sentencing guidelines and, where applicable, can trigger the “career offender” enhancement.

There is nothing new or surprising about this. What is interesting about this case is its strong dicta that a y.o is not a predicate under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). Indeed, the circuit cites with approval United States v. Fernandez, 390 F. Supp.2d 277 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) (litigated and won by this very blogger), which so held, and notes that, here, the district court followed Fernandez in declining to sentence Parnell under ACCA, a sentence, not incidentally, that the government did not …

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Categories: ACCA, career offender, Uncategorized, youthful offender adjudication

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Friday, November 2nd, 2007

The Good Shepard

United States v. Rosa, No. 05-3621-cr (2d Cir. October 30, 2007) (Kearse, Sack, CJJ, Mills, DJ)

The Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) requires increased penalties for defendants in federal gun possession cases who have three prior convictions for serious drug offenses or “violent felonies.” This case concerns the “categorical approach” to determining whether a prior conviction resulting from a guilty plea was to an offense that qualified as a “violent felony.”

In 1991, Rosa pled guilty to robbery in the first degree, an offense he committed when he was 15, in violation of N.Y. Penal Law § 160.15(4), which makes it an offense to commit a robbery and display “what appeared to be” a firearm. The government contended that this conviction was an ACCA predicate as an “act of juvenile delinquency … involving the use or carrying of a firearm.” Two other ACCA predicates were not in dispute.

The district …

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Categories: ACCA, categorical approach, Shepard, Uncategorized, Y.O., youthful offender adjudication

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Saturday, October 6th, 2007

Why Oh, Why Oh, Y.O?

United States v. Jackson, Docket No. 06-5928-cr (2d Cir. October 5, 2007) (Miner, Cabranes, CJJ, Crotty, DJ) (per curiam)

This case continues the court’s seemingly relentless, and highly questionable, line of cases upholding the use of New York State youthful offender adjudications (“Y.O.”’s) as sentencing enhancers.

In United States v. Sampson, 385 F.3d 183 (2d Cir. 2004), the court held that a Y.O. constituted a prior drug felony for purposes of the sentencing enhancements contained in 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b) and 851.

Here, Jackson, whose Y.O doubled a five-year mandatory minimum, tried to capitalize on a potential hole in Sampson. He argued that the Sampson court’s observation that the defendant served his Y.O. sentence in an adult institution created a requirement that district courts find this to be true before enhancing a drug sentence based on a Y.O.

The court disagreed. A finding of fact on this question is not …

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Categories: adult offense, juvenile facility, mandatory minimum, prior felony, Uncategorized, Y.O., youthful offender adjudication

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