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September 4, 2009

Split Seventh Circuit panel discusses importance of right to allocute

A split Seventh Circuit has an extended and interesting discussion of a defendant's right to allocute and lots of other notable issues in US v. Noel, No. 07-2468 (7th Cir. Sept. 4, 2009) (available here), which is yet another ugly federal child porn case.  The start of the dissenting opinion from Judge Williams provides a good summary of all the issues discussed in the Noel opinions:

I join my colleagues wholeheartedly in affirming Noel’s conviction and agree that any errors that may have occurred during trial were harmless due to the overwhelming evidence of his egregious conduct. I write separately, however, because I disagree with the panel’s conclusion that the denial of his right to allocute did not undermine the fairness of the judicial proceedings. Instead, I would remand for resentencing.  In light of Chief Judge Easterbrook’s concurrence, I also write to stress the importance of the presumption of prejudice afforded to a defendant who has been denied the opportunity to allocute, and to reiterate why the standard adopted in United States v. Luepke, 495 F.3d 443 (7th Cir. 2007), should remain the law of this circuit.

September 4, 2009 at 11:23 AM | Permalink


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