BIG WIN ON DIRECT APPEAL RESULTS IN NEW SENTENCING HEARING
REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING: The Firm was retained to assist Jose Palacios, Jr. with his direct appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The client’s former appellate attorney had abandoned his appeal. The Firm was successful in having the appeal reinstated after filing a motion to recall the mandate.
The Firm argued on appeal that the lower court had erred in failing to give Palacios an opportunity to speak before being sentenced. The right of a defendant to speak before a judge imposes sentence is known as “allocution.” The appeal presented difficult issues of law because Palacios’ former attorney failed to object to the district court’s error. Reviewing the matter for “plain error,” the Fifth Circuit agreed with the Firm’s argument that Palacios was improperly denied the right to allocute. The judgment of the district court was accordingly vacated and the case was remanded for resentencing. United States v. Palacios, Jr., No. 14-40279 (5th Cir. 2016).
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