Saturday, March 14, 2009

Global Warming

United States v. Yauri, No. 08-1105-cr (2d Cir. March 12, 2009)(Sack, Wesley, CJJ, Kahn, DJ) (per curiam)

In Yauri’s money laundering plea agreement, the government agreed to a two-level reduction for a “global disposition" and to a loss amount of “more than $30,000.” His presentence report, however, recommended guidelines calculation based on a loss of more than $154,000 and omitted the global disposition reduction. At sentencing, his counsel, who had not attended the plea hearing, did not object to the omission of the global reduction, and agreed that the loss amount in the presentence report was correct, despite the language in the plea agreement and the fact that Yauri had not allocuted to a specific loss amount.

On appeal, he argued that his counsel was ineffective, and the government agreed, but only with respect to the failure to call the court’s attention to the global disposition reduction. The court agreed, as well, and remanded for resentencing.

Counsel’s possible ineffectiveness on the loss amount presents a more complicated question. The court is generally averse to resolving ineffectiveness claims on direct appeal, and here the record is not fully developed on the loss amount issue. While normally, a § 2255 motion would be the preferred method for raising such a challenge, sometimes a remand for further factfinding is the better way to address an ineffectiveness claim. This is such a case. Since it is already being remanded on one ineffectiveness claim, “efficiency will be served” if the district court addresses the second claim at the same time.



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