Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Defendant Knowingly and Voluntarily Waived Right to Appeal

United States v. Coston, No. 12-4622-cr (2d Cir. Dec. 10, 2013) (Katzmann, Winter, and Calabresi), available here

Nothing new here: This per curiam decision merely holds that the defendant knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to appeal and that his appeal waiver is therefore enforceable.
In his plea agreement, the defendant promised not to appeal any prison sentence of 120 months or less, including any related issues with respect to the Sentencing Guidelines or the reasonableness of the sentence imposed. Though the defendant was sentenced to just 27 months of imprisonment, he appealed anyway, contending that the appeal waiver was either void or unenforceable.
The Circuit rejected the defendant’s claims, holding that, in exchange for valid consideration, the defendant made a knowing, voluntary, and competent waiver of his appellate rights. No evidence showed that the sentence was reached in a manner that the plea agreement did not anticipate or that enforcement of the waiver would violate fundamental rights. Accordingly, the Circuit dismissed the appeal.
Commentary:  The Circuit has long held that appeal waivers are generally enforceable. So it is unclear why the Court decided to publish this opinion, rather than simply issue a summary order. Perhaps the Court felt that a published opinion would more effectively discourage future efforts to avoid the effect of appeal waivers?     
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