Friday, October 24, 2014

US v. Castro-Ponce, No. 13-10377 (Gould with Reinhardt and Berzon). 

The 9th makes clear that before a court finds that an upward adjustment for obstruction of justice based on false testimony is appropriate, the court must explicitly find that (1) the testimony was false; (2) the testimony was material; and (3) the testimony was willful and intentional.  In this case, the defendant was charged with conspiracy and other drug trafficking offenses.  He testified as to four incidents, offering explanations that explained why he was at certain spots. The court imposed a 240-month sentence based on the obstruction adjustment, but expressly found only that the testimony was false.  Given the severity of such an adjustment, and the chilling effect on testimony, the court must also explicitly find the two other elements in the section: materiality and intentional willfulness.  The 9th follows the approach of the Sixth and Tenth Circuits.  Here, the sentence was vacated and remanded for such findings.

The decision is here:


Post a Comment

<< Home