Thursday, July 09, 2020

Appellate arguments that are not waived by the appeal waiver in a plea agreement

In U.S. v. Romero, the Fourth Circuit in a per curiam opinion for the panel of Judges Niemeyer, Agee, and Diaz ruled that the appellant's three arguments raised on appeal were each of them within exceptions to the general rule that appeal waivers are enforceable, but the arguments were not established by the record or premature.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

On being the test cow as a district court judge

In U.S. v. Perry, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Diaz for a panel including Judge Richardson and District Judge Johnston from West Virginia affirmed the sentence imposed by the district court, where the district court judge described himself as the "test cow" on the issue of whether a certain offense under North Carolina state law was a crime of violence.

When Judge Wilkinson argues for reversal by the Supreme Court

In U.S. v. Gary, Judge Wilkinson joined by Judges Niemeyer, Agee, Quattlebaum, and Rushing, wrote at considerable length explaining why the United States Supreme Court should reject the analysis of the panel decision in the case.

The decision for the panel was written by Judge Gregory, joined by Judges Thacker and Floyd, about the holding of the Supreme Court in Rehaif v. U.S.

The issue is the characterization of the error as "structural" such that it subjects prior convictions to collateral attack, which Judge Wilkinson described as a tremendous cost to the government.