United States v. Edgell (P)

The defendant’s criminal sentence was improper where the government failed to stipulate to a lower sentencing range, as it had agreed to do.

The defendant agreed to plead guilty to two drug offenses based on the government’s stipulation that his total drug conduct related to “less than five grams of substances containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.” However, subsequent lab results showed that the substances in question were actual meth, which increased the minimum recommended sentence from 10 months to 30 months in prison. At sentencing, the government advocated for a sentence consistent with that elevated range.

The government was duty-bound to disclose the lab results to the sentencing court, but it denied the defendant the benefit of his bargain when it didn’t stipulate to the lower sentencing range. Given the government’s breach, the defendant should be resentenced before a different district judge.

Vacated and remanded.

United States v. Edgell (P), No. 17-4432, Jan. 25, 2019. 4th Cir. (Harris) from NDWV at Clarksburg (Keeley).


Categories: 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions, Published

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