US v. Salazar

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 03-08-2023
  • Case #: 22-50060
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tallman, J. for the Court; Schroeder, J.; & Ikuta, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Despite the government’s knowledge of relevant information, defendants must provide all relevant information when invoking the safety valve under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f).

The government appealed the district court’s decision to allow the use of the § 3553(f) safety valve in sentencing Defendant, which avoided the mandatory minimum sentence. The government assigned error to the trial court’s decision affirming that Defendant was “either excused from or had complied with, his obligation to truthfully proffer under § 3553(f)(5).” On appeal, the government argued that Defendant was ineligible for the relief because he did not proffer the information he knew as required under § 3553(f)(5). In response, Defendant argued that the written proffer was unnecessary because the government already possessed relevant information. The § 3553(f) safety valve allows the court to set aside the mandatory minimum sentence, so long as “the defendant [has] provid[ed], prior to sentencing, all information at his disposal which is relevant to the offense, whether or not it is relevant or useful to the government’s investigation.” The Court held that the safety valve under § 3553(f) does not allow for a futility exception. Thus, even if the government already knew relevant information, and additional information would be futile, this did not exempt Defendant from his obligation to “tell all you can tell.” Vacated and remanded for resentencing.

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