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U.S. v. Guevara

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
Aug 12, 1991
941 F.2d 1299 (4th Cir. 1991)

Summary

holding that, despite its unilateral wording, the waiver provision at issue also operated to preclude the Government from appealing

Summary of this case from United States v. Mutschler

Opinion

No. 90-5840.

Argued April 11, 1991.

Decided August 12, 1991.

Geoffrey Robert Brigham, Crim. Div., U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., argued (Henry E. Hudson, U.S. Atty., William G. Otis, Sr. Litigation Counsel, Christine Wright, Asst. U.S. Atty., Alexandria, Va., on brief), for plaintiff-appellant.

Gregory Bruce English, English Smith, Alexandria, Va., for defendant-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Before RUSSELL and WIDENER, Circuit Judges, and MICHAEL, District Judge for the Western District of Virginia, sitting by designation.


OPINION


Carmen Guevara entered into a plea agreement with the government under which she agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States under 18 U.S.C. § 1001, to commit mail fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1341, and to conduct laundering of money instruments under 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(A)(i), all in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. She further agreed to forfeit her home and the $4,651.00 proceeds from the sale of her condominium. She pleaded guilty, an order of forfeiture was entered, and a deed of the house to the government was executed to give effect to the agreement. Guevara was then sentenced to 28 months of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. The severity of this sentence not to its liking, the government appealed.

The plea agreement contains a provision whereby "... defendant knowingly waives her right to appeal the sentence in exchange for the concessions made by the government in this agreement," and another provision that "... the defendant, knowing that he has a right of direct appeal of the sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3742(a) and the grounds listed therein, expressly waives the right to appeal her sentence on those grounds or on any ground." Similar provisions waiving a defendant's right to appeal have been upheld in United States v. Wiggins, 905 F.2d 51 (4th Cir. 1990). In that case, we considered language indistinguishable from that which we have quoted above and gave as a reason for our decision that "[t]he government has added the waiver language to its standard plea precisely because it preserves the finality of judgments and sentences imposed pursuant to valid pleas of guilty." Wiggins, 905 F.2d at 54. The finality of judgments and sentences imposed is no more preserved by appeals by the government than by appeals by the defendant, and it strikes us as far too one-sided to construe the plea agreement to permit an appeal by the government for a fancied mistake by the district court, as here, but not to permit an appeal on similar grounds by the defendant, which Wiggins held to be precluded. That being the case, we are of opinion that such a provision against appeals must also be enforced against the government, which must be held to have implicitly cast its lot with the district court, as the defendant explicitly did.

Accordingly, the government's appeal is

DISMISSED.


Summaries of

U.S. v. Guevara

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
Aug 12, 1991
941 F.2d 1299 (4th Cir. 1991)

holding that, despite its unilateral wording, the waiver provision at issue also operated to preclude the Government from appealing

Summary of this case from United States v. Mutschler

holding the Government was precluded from appealing a sentence where the defendant explicitly waived his right to appeal

Summary of this case from State v. Pfeiffer

concluding that to do otherwise was "too one-sided" and "that such a provision against appeals must also be enforced against the government, which must be held to have implicitly cast its lot with the district court, as the defendant explicitly did"

Summary of this case from United States v. Miles

In Guevara, the defendant expressly waived the right to appeal her sentence in her plea agreement, but the plea agreement was silent with respect to the government's right to appeal. 941 F.2d at 1299.

Summary of this case from United States v. Zuk

In Guevara, this court held that a plea agreement provision that bars the defendant from appealing, but is silent as to the Government's right to appeal, must be construed as imposing a reciprocal limitation on the Government's right to challenge a judgment or sentence imposed by the district court.

Summary of this case from United States v. Bowe

In United States v. Guevara, 941 F.2d 1299 (4th Cir. 1991), the Fourth Circuit held that when a defendant waives his right to appeal a sentence pursuant to a plea agreement, the government also will be found to have waived its right to appeal a sentence.

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Hendrickson
Case details for

U.S. v. Guevara

Case Details

Full title:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, v. CARMEN GUEVARA…

Court:United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

Date published: Aug 12, 1991

Citations

941 F.2d 1299 (4th Cir. 1991)

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