United States v. Daniels

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 07-23-2014
  • Case #: 13-50331
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Gould for the Court; Circuit Judge N.R. Smith and Senior District Judge Korman
  • Full Text Opinion

According to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1(b)(2)(E), a court is required to personally address a defendant giving the defendant a chance to present mitigating information before imposing a sentence.

After John Fitzgerald Daniels’s supervised release began following his prison sentence, police pulled him over and discovered drug trafficking paraphernalia in his vehicle, resulting in him receiving another prison sentence. Daniels appealed his sentence. On appeal, Daniels argued that the district court violated Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure (“FRCP”) 32.1(b)(2)(E) by not allowing him to allocute before sentencing. FRCP 32.1(b)(2)(E) “requires a court, before imposing its sentence, to ‘address the defendant personally in order to permit the defendant to speak or present any information to mitigate the sentence.’” The Ninth Circuit held that the district court erred by not personally asking Daniels to speak before imposing his sentence. After United States v. Castillo-Marin, Daniels must prove that the district court committed a plain error by showing that the court: (1) made an error; (2) the error was clear or obvious; (3) the error affected his substantial rights; and, (4) the error “seriously affected the fairness, integrity or public reputation of judicial proceedings.” The panel thus established that the district court committed an error that was clear or obvious and the error affected Daniels’ substantial rights because had Daniels been asked to speak, the district court could have imposed a lesser sentence. VACATED and REMANDED.

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