Federal Court is a tough environment for a criminal defendant. The government has unlimited resources. The government has multiple agencies doing the work for the U.S. Attorney in that district. The government has at its disposal the DEA, ATF, FBI, ICE, Secret Service and sometimes local tasks force assigned to work with federal agencies.
In this case of U.S. v. Cortes-Maldonado, from the 1st Circuit, the defendant pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. From the plea agreement, the parties stipulated that he had three firearms, and that the defendant would receive acceptance and responsibility for a three-level reduction. The agreed upon guideline range was a level 21 and the defendant would receive a sentence of 57-71 months.
At the Sentencing Hearing, the U.S Probation Office contended that one of the firearms was stolen, therefore, the Probation Offense argued for a two-level enhancement. In addition, the defendant had a criminal history of III, which means that he had at least two prior felony convictions on his record. The court agreed with the enhancement and sentenced the defendant to 84 months.
The U.S. Probation Office will argue all day that their role is neutral and that they work for the court. However, the Probation Office takes their findings of facts directly from the Government. Have you ever seen the Probation Office contact the defense lawyer to discuss the defendant’s role in the case? No. As stated, the government has many agencies at their disposal. The defendant has one friend only in the courtroom, his or her counsel.
The defendant appealed and the 1st Circuit ruled that the defendant did not cite any case law to support his position, thus the case was affirmed on appeal. Generally speaking, the 1st Circuit is the most liberal circuit in the country. However, in this case the lawyer could not find any case law to support the position.
If you are charged with a federal crime in the Northern District of Alabama, Middle District of Alabama or the Southern District of Alabama, contact Ingram Law LLC at 205-335-2640. Joe Ingram has handled more than 185 federal cases to date.