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Articles by David Reutter

Systematic Lying in Plea Bargaining Is a Feature, Not a Flaw

by David M. Reutter

Systematic “lying at plea bargaining allows defendants the opportunity to negotiate fair resolutions to their cases in the face of a deeply unfair system, even as that lying makes way for—and sustains—the problematic system it seeks to avoid,” wrote Thea Johnson, an associate professor at Rutgers ...

Sixth Circuit: Government Violated Plea Agreement by Arguing for Sentence Exceeding Guidelines Range, Despite Promise Not to ‘Suggest in Any Way’ Variance Is Appropriate

by David M. Reutter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held the Government violated a plea agreement by arguing for a sentence that exceed the Guidelines. It remanded for resentencing before a different district court judge.

The Court’s opinion was the second time the issue was before ...

Plea Bargaining: An Illegitimate System to Administer Justice?

by David M. Reutter

A counseled plea bargain is the fastest and most economical resolution to a criminal case. The American justice system has come to tolerate and encourage plea bargains because of these attributes. Recent studies, however, find that a defendant who enters a plea with the assistance of ...

Iowa Supreme Court Reverses Conviction Where Prosecutor Allowed to Amend Trial Information at Trial to Charge a ‘Wholly New and Different Offense’

by David M. Reutter

The Supreme Court of Iowa reversed a conviction where the trial court allowed the prosecutor to amend an information at trial and abandon the original charge to bring a more severe charge.

The Court’s opinion was issued in an appeal by Jameesha Renea Allen after a ...

Third Circuit, Joining Every Other Circuit That’s Addressed the Issue, Holds Hobbs Act Robbery Does Not Qualify as ‘Crime of Violence’

by David M. Reutter

In a precedential ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that Hobbs Act robbery does not qualify as a “crime of violence” under the career-offender sentence enhancement in U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.”), § 4B1.2(a).

The Court’s opinion was issued in an appeal ...

Pandemic Pressures Defendants into False Guilty Pleas

by David M. Reutter

The majority of people held in jails throughout the U.S. have not been convicted of a crime. They are more inclined to accept plea offers to secure immediate release from incarceration. A recent study found that “the added risk of COVID exposure in jail made participants-defendants ...

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals: Trial Court Abused Discretion by Refusing to Allow Withdrawal of Jury-Trial Waiver for Defendant Who Ultimately Rejected Plea Deal

by David M. Reutter

The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas held that a trial court abused its discretion in denying a defendant’s request to withdraw his jury-trial waiver after he rejected the State’s plea offer.

The Court’s opinion was issued in an appeal filed by Jose Cesar Sanchez. He ...

California Supreme Court Announces Standard of Review and Required Showing for Prejudicial Error Under § 1473.7 to Vacate Plea Due to Lack of Understanding of Immigration Consequences

by David M. Reutter

The Supreme Court of California issued an order that set the standard of review for motions filed under Penal Code § 1473.7 (Motion to vacate conviction or sentence by person no longer imprisoned or restrained). It then reviewed the motion on appeal and found the movant ...

Snitch Visas: A Pipe Dream

by David M. Reutter

When Nervin Coronado was charged in 2009 with participating in a mortgage fraud scheme, he faced more than just prison time. He faced deportation because he immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12 and never became a U.S. citizen.

Like others before him, Coronado ...

D.C. Circuit: Government Breached Plea Agreement by Violating Ambiguous Terms, Ambiguities Resolved in Favor of Defendants, Sentence Vacated

by David M. Reutter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that a plea agreement was ambiguous as to the Government’s ability to oppose Safety Valve relief on grounds the defendant was a supervisor or manager in a drug conspiracy. It ordered resentencing that was ...



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