Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summary Summary

The court has only issued 2 published opinions in criminal cases in the past two weeks. But there has been a flurry of noteworthy summary orders. Here is the latest crop:

In United States v. Creary, No. 06-2233-cr (2d Cir. May 27, 2008), a document fraud case, the court vacated the sentence because the district judge did not make sufficient findings that the case involved 100 or more fraudulent documents.

United States v. Berrios, No. 05-6654-cr (2d Cir. May 27, 2008), sorted out a district court proceeding that can only be described as a train wreck. First, the court vacated one defendant’s sentence because the district judge did not give sufficient reasons for the sentence: it did not calculate the guideline range, mention § 3553(a), adopt the presentence report or address the history and character of the defendant. The circuit did not enforce the appellate waiver, because, during the plea, the district judge did not ascertain that the waiver was knowing and voluntary. Next, the court vacated a second defendant’s conviction in its entirety because the plea colloquy was inadequate - the court did not identify the charges or the maximum and minimum penalties. Third, the court vacated two other defendants’ sentences because the district court did not make sufficient findings as to drug quantity. Finally, a fifth defendant’s sentence was vacated because the record is “devoid of explanation or reasoning for [the] sentence.”

In United States v. Valdez, No. 07-0293-cr (2d Cir. May 14, 2008), the sentence was procedurally unreasonable because the district judge indicated that he believed the he would have to find the guideline range unreasonable before he could impose a below-guideline sentence.


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