Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Summary Summary

Here’s the latest crop:

In United States v. Ramirez, No. 08-2771 (2d Cir. April 1, 2009), the district court committed a procedural sentencing error in the defendant’s favor by refusing to calculate the applicable Guideline range based on the actual drug quantity and instead deferring to the jury’s finding that less than 500 grams of cocaine was attributable to the defendant. But the circuit found that the error was harmless since there was no doubt that the district court would have imposed the same sentence absent the error.

In United States v. Soto, No. 08-0654-cr (2c Cir. March 25, 2009), two defendants challenged their lengthy sentences on various procedural grounds. The circuit affirmed, but “pause[d] … to note the striking size of the discrepancies between the sentences estimated at the time of the … pleas and those that were imposed.” The court agreed that it was “understandable if they came as a considerable shock to the defendants when they were imposed” and had “some concern that they may therefore have an adverse impact on the willingness of criminal defendants to engage in similar plea negotiations in the future.”

In United States v. Carter, No. 07-5756-cr (2d Cir. March 25, 2009), the circuit vacated a 5-year consecutive 924(c) sentence under United States v. Williams, 2009 WL 563644 (2d Cir. March 5, 2009), even though the issue was not raised in the district court.

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