Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Comments on US v. Leach, No. 03-CR-114-H (N.D. Ok. Aug. 13, 2004)

At the Puerto Rico Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers I posted some Comments on U.S. v. Leach, No. 03-CR-114-H (N.D. Ok. Aug. 13, 2004) here, essentially criticizing Chief Judge Holmes from the Northern District of Oklahoma, for his manner of forcing defendants into a partial Blakely-waiver. Defendant appears for sentencing with a pre-Blakely plea agreement. The Chief Judge grants defendant the "opportunity" to withdraw the guilty plea. If defendant does not, he then uses this as a knowing and voluntary waiver of the right to jury determination of any enhancements, and considers himself empowered to find the facts himself. The only benefit to defendant is that this judge has also decided that he will find the facts using the beyond a reasonable doubt standard. But transparent in all of this is an effort not to let defendants get away with any windfall by mere timing of her plea.