Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Circuit Vacates Forfeiture Order for Plain Error

United States v. Lopez, No. 12-1019-cr (2d Cir. Nov. 12, 2013) (Livingston, Lynch, and Droney) (summary order), available here 

Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.2(b)(2)(C) permits a district judge to enter a general forfeiture order if “before sentencing, the court cannot . . . calculate the total amount of the money judgment.” The rule directs district judges entering such an order to “(i) list[] any identified property; (ii) describe[] other property in general terms; and (iii) state[] that the order will be amended under Rule 32.2(e)(1) when . . . the amount of the money judgment has been calculated.”
Here, the defendant was sentenced to 12 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute drugs. The district court also ordered that he forfeit “[a]ny proceeds gained as a result of [his] criminal activity.” No objection was raised to this forfeiture order in the district court. Nevertheless, the Circuit found plain error in the district court’s failure to specify a forfeiture amount or to state its intent to specify a specific amount at a later date.   
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