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Judges order man sentenced under original plea agreement

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The District Court committed a legal error when it withdrew a defendant’s guilty plea on his behalf instead of allowing the defendant the choice to stand by the plea or withdraw it, ruled the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Juan Carlos Adame-Hernandez sold cocaine and was a source of the drug distributed by the Mockabee organization referenced in a separate opinion released Monday by the 7th Circuit. Hernandez entered into a plea agreement Jan. 3, 2011, in which he would be subject to a base level of 38. The parties agreed that he should be sentenced to 204 months in prison, followed by supervised release and a fine.

The presentence investigation report said that Hernandez was responsible for more than 150 kilograms of cocaine, a number he objected to. Six months after the guilty plea, the prosecutor claimed that Hernandez objected to the base level offense stipulated since he disputed the amount of drug attributed to him, and that this is grounds to find a breach of the plea agreement.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker found this position to be a breach, withdrew his guilty plea and set the matter for trial because the sentence was not consistence with other sentences given out to defendants in similar situations.  A grand jury indicted him again, with the counts being the same as alleged previously. Hernandez attempted to have his original plea reinstated, but when that failed, he agreed to plead guilty again. This time he was sentenced to 300 months in prison on two counts.

In United States of America v. Juan Carlos Adame-Hernandez, 12-1268, the 7th Circuit ordered the District Court to allow Hernandez to maintain his original guilty plea and be sentenced under its terms.

Once the judge accepted his guilty plea, the conditions under which the plea may be withdrawn are governed by Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Nothing in that rule authorizes the court to withdraw the defendant’s guilty plea for him. It can reject the plea agreement but then must give the defendant an opportunity to withdraw the plea or stand by it. That did not occur in this case.

Neither the government nor the District Court had the authority to subject him to the same indictment again, the judges ruled.

“Our holding is an exceedingly narrow one, and pertains only to cases in which a defendant pleads guilty after the district court has already accepted a guilty plea to charges that, on the face of the indictment or other charging document, are identical to those the defendant pleads to in the later proceeding. This case fits well within the exception to the general waiver rule already recognized in (Menna v. New York, 423 U.S. 61 (1975)) and (Blackledge v. Perry, 417 U.S. 21, 31 (1974)), and a guilty plea will still act to bar typical objections against the district court’s handling of plea agreements and related issues,” Judge John Tinder wrote.

 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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