Friday, February 25, 2005

US v. Jeronimo

No. 03-30394 (2-23-05). One of the supposed benefits of the Guidelines when enacted in 1984, and in the eyes of theoreticians, was that sentences would be reviewed by appellate courts. There would be an established jurisprudence on guidelines, and sentences would be assessed. Alas, theory meets practice. "Departures" were made wholly discretionary and unreviewable (talk about disparity), and then came the waiver of appeal as to the guidelines sentences. It is unfortunate that Booker may also lead this way. Well, enough of an editorial aside, back to this case, where the defendant entered into a plea agreement that he says his lawyer promise him would result in a max guideline range of 87 mos. Pesky thing is one's criminal history, because this pushed him up to 188 mos. However, at the Rule 11 colloquy, the court intoned that he could face up to 20 years. The plea also had that "waive any and all rights of appeal." The 9th (Gould) wrote that this slams the door shut on any challenge to the plea and sentence, once it was found to be knowing. Post-conviction was the route to go for IAC. In dissent, Berson argued that the majority missed the boat in that the issue was knowing and voluntary, and if the defendant, on the record presented, stated that he was told it would be only 87 mos, then how could the plea be knowingly.


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