D.C. Circuit - General Application Issues

United States v. Browne, 953 F.3d 794 (D.C. Cir. 2020). The use of uncharged or acquitted conduct at sentencing does not violate the Sixth Amendment or due process, and, in light of the evidence presented, the court did not clearly or obviously err in finding that the defendant’s kidnapping was in furtherance of drug trafficking.

United States v. Miller, 953 F.3d 804 (D.C. Cir. 2020). Defense counsel’s failure to request a recommendation for residential drug abuse treatment did not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel because the defendant could not show a reasonable probability of RDAP placement if there had been a judicial recommendation. Trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for not informing the court that the defendant, who was serving an indeterminate state sentence, would not receive custody credit from the state while on a federal writ awaiting trial. The court could not ignore the credit issue when deciding what sentence was necessary to achieve just punishment.

United States v. Abney, 957 F.3d 241 (D.C. Cir. 2020). A defendant has a right to make a statement before being sentenced for violating probation or supervised release. The defendant preserved his objection to the denial of this right by informing the sentencing court that he wanted to “say something.” Even assuming that the error was unpreserved, the failure to permit a defendant to speak before sentencing would be plain error.