Prior Convictions Triggering Career Offender Treatment Need Not Be Charged in Indictment, So Long as Sentence Does Not Exceed Legislative Maximum
United States v. Ramirez, Docket No. 05-4575-cr (2d Cir. June 23, 2006) (Meskill, Cabranes, Wesley) (per curiam): The title basically says it all. In this very short opinion, the Circuit confirms that Booker does not alter the long-standing rule that "the filing of a prior felony information under [21 U.S.C.] § 851(a)(1) 'is required only where the statutory maximum or maximum penalty under Part D of Title 21 is sought to be enhanced, not where a defendant, by virtue of his criminal history, receives an increased sentence under the Sentencing Guidelines within the statutory range.'" Op. 3 (quoting United States v. Whitaker, 938 F.2d 1551, 1552 (2d Cir. 1991) (emphases in original)). Here, Ramirez faced a Guidelines range of 151 to 188 months because he qualified as a Career Offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1, based on prior convictions not alleged in the indictment (charging him with distributing an unspecified quantity of heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C)). The prior-felony information requirement of § 851(a) was not triggered because his 151-month sentence did not exceed the 20-year maximum allowable under § 841(b)(1)(C).