Posts Tagged ‘plain error’

The Fourth Circuit yesterday vacated another enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act in light of its August 2011 8-5 en banc decision in United States v. Simmons (prior discussions here and here). The panel that issued the unpublished per curiam opinion in United States v. Bellamy was composed of Judges Motz, Agee, and Wynn.

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Hurricane Irene brought peace (eirene) of a sort to Richmond. Without power, there is only so much that one can do. And many in Richmond have been, and remain, without power.

The Fourth Circuit has not done much this week. Until today, there were no opinions in argued cases. The one opinion issued today breaking this week’s argued-case silence is United States v. Martin.The decision affirms an illegal sentence under plain-error review. One suspects there may be more to the case than revealed in the relatively spare unpublished per curiam opinion released today. The case was argued on December 10, 2010, before a panel consisting of Justice O’Connor, Chief Judge Traxler, and Judge Keenan. It is unusual for an opinion to take this long to be issued.

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The Fourth Circuit today issued a unanimous, unpublished opinion in United States v. Williamson, a case dealing with the admissibility of a recorded statement made to a confidential informant. Most unanimous unpublished opinions raise no noteworthy issue. But Williamson seems unusual because the court injected a Fifth Amendment issue into a case that came on remand from the Supreme Court after a procedural history that focused everyone’s attention on a Sixth Amendment issue. Moreover, the Fourth Circuit’s decision to highlight a potential new issue for review is difficult to understand because it appears to make little practical difference to how the case will ultimately be resolved (at least so far as this non-specialist in criminal procedure can tell).

More after the jump.


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