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May 7, 2008

Notable CVRA ruling from Fifth Circuit in BP case

Though apparently not yet posted on the Fifth Circuit website, a friendly reader sent me a copy of the Circuit notable decision today concerning the Crime Victims' Rights Act in In Re: Dean, No. 08-20125 (5th Cir. May 7, 2008) (available for download below). Here is the start of the opinion:

In the related criminal proceeding, twelve of the victims asked the district court to reject the plea agreement, alleging violations of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (“CVRA”), 18 U.S.C. § 3771. The district court denied the request. See United States v. BP Prods. N. Am. Inc., No. H-07-434, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12893 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 21, 2008).  The victims petition for writ of mandamus with the prayer that “[t]he decision of the district court should be reversed and the case remanded with instructions that the plea agreement [not be] accepted and the parties are permitted to proceed as they determine --- so long as it is in a way that respects crime victims’ rights.” We find a statutory violation but, for reasons we explain, we deny relief.

Download cvra_dean_opinion_from_5th_circuit.pdf

There is a lot packed into only eight pages in Dean, and thus I may need some times and future posts to comments on what this ruling could mean (and whether it might be SCOTUS material).

May 7, 2008 at 06:31 PM | Permalink


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I wish more judges wrote that way. The opinion is very clear, mercifully short... no throat clearing, no platitudes, just a thorough but efficient explanation of how the court decided the case and what the district court is to do going forward.

Posted by: | May 8, 2008 12:10:02 AM

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