U.S. v. Gonzalez-Melchor, No. 10-50111 (7-8-11)(M. Smith with D. Nelson and Bybee).
The defendant went to a bench trial on a 1326 charge, lost, and the district court suggested that he waive his appeal for a sentence below the guidelines. The 9th found that the plea waiver was invalid and unenforceable. The district court cannot get involved in plea negotiations. That is what took place with the plea waiver. In a memorandum disposition, the 9th also held that the IJ failed to adequately advise the defendant of his voluntary departure options. The conviction is reversed and remanded for a prejudice determination.
Congratulations to Kristi Hughes of the Federal Defenders of San Diego.