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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Once the judge accepted his guilty plea, the conditions under which the plea may be withdrawn are governed by Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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