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April 26, 2007

Thoughful discussion of appeal waivers by Third Circuit

As discussed here, Nancy J. King and Michael O'Neill have documented that appeal waivers in federal plea agreements tend to "undercut efforts to advance consistency in federal sentencing."  And I have argued in posts here and here, that appeal waivers are perhaps invalid on public policy grounds because they violate of the appellate review provisions of the Sentencing Reform Act.  Nevertheless, even after Blakely and Booker, it seems that appeal waivers remain a central part of federal sentencing practice.

Today the Third Circuit has a thoughtful decision in US v. Gwinnett, No. 06-1766 (3d Cir. Apr. 26, 2007) (available here), discussing the impact of appeal waivers on its jurisdiction to hear a sentencing appeal.  The Gwinnett panel concludes that an appeal waiver does not eliminate its jurisdiction to hear an appeal, though it does it does conclude that it "will not exercise that jurisdiction to review the merits of [a defendant's] appeal if we conclude that she knowingly and voluntarily waived her right to appeal unless the result would work a miscarriage of justice."

April 26, 2007 at 01:11 PM | Permalink


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