Thursday, October 17, 2013

Visiting Judge Bowen issues strongly worded concurrence

From U.S. v. Rodriguez, it's definitely worth a read. Judge Bowen was visiting from the S.D. Georgia.

Judge Martin, for the majority, finds that the government didn't prove up 50 victims at sentencing:

Mr. Rodriguez argues that the District Court clearly erred when it found that his offense involved more than 50 victims. Although he acknowledges that the government presented 42 affidavits of victims who suffered a loss and a summary chart indicating that there were 238 victims total, he points out that the government provided no witnesses or underlying data to authenticate the government’s summary chart. For this reason, Mr. Rodriguez argues that the District Court’s finding is not supported by reliable and specific evidence. We agree.
And here's Judge Bowen's concurrence:

I concur in the opinion in full. I write specially to comment on the Government’s treatment of the sentencing proceedings.

This is another case wherein the Government has failed to come forward with evidence at a critical time. Unfortunately, important objections made by a defendant at a sentencing hearing are often dealt with as an afterthought. The Government’s cavalier disregard for the need of further evidence, specific references to a trial transcript, or another basis upon which the district court may make sustainable findings is all too typical. In this case, after a laboriously conducted two-week trial, resulting in a conviction we readily affirm, the Government’s willingness to allow the matter to conclude resting upon extrapolation, conjecture, and innuendo left the district court stranded with a well-prepared Presentence Investigation Report, some commentary, and little else.

Too often, energetic, successful prosecutors approach what is arguably the most important part of the case with a surprising level of inexactitude. Responsible advocacy demands more.

1 comment:

MC Waste Services, Inc said...

civil liability will surely make them more honorable