Eighth Circuit - General Application Issues

United States v. Harrison, 974 F.3d 880 (8th Cir. 2020). The court plainly erred when it suggested, with a plea deal still on the table, that the defendant could do better if he went to trial. The court sentenced the defendant after trial to a sentence above what the government agreed to recommend in the plea deal. The case was remanded to a different judge for resentencing, permitting the judge to consider the likelihood that the defendant would have received an acceptance-of-responsibility reduction absent the Rule 11(c)(1) violation.

United States v. Harrell, 982 F.3d 1137 (8th Cir. 2020). The court’s statement about “extraordinary gun violence” in the community and the community’s perception of the defendant was not plain error even though the statements were “unsupported by the record and the PSR.” Even assuming the court’s statement was plainly erroneous, the defendant could not show that this error affected his substantial rights because those factors did not form the principal basis for the sentence.

United States v. Nelson, 982 F.3d 1141 (8th Cir. 2020). USSG §5G1.3(d) applies to a defendant subject to an undischarged term of imprisonment for relevant and non-relevant conduct, and in such cases, a court may choose to run the sentence for the instant offense concurrently, partially concurrently, or consecutively to the undischarged term of imprisonment.

United States v. Barthman, 983 F.3d 318 (8th Cir. 2020). A court does not abuse its discretion when, following remand, it imposes a new sentence that is “out of proportion” to the original sentence in terms of where it falls within the applicable guideline range.

United States v. Barthman, 983 F.3d 318 (8th Cir. 2020). The court clearly erred in finding that the defendant was non-indigent for purposes of imposing a $5,000 special assessment under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. The defendant had “a negative net worth of $166,903” and “will be nearly 80 years old, if not older, when he is released from custody.”

United States v. Mink, 9 F.4th 590 (8th Cir. 2021). After vacating the defendant’s conviction on one of fifteen counts, the Eighth Circuit vacated the entire sentence under the discretionary “sentencing package doctrine.” Because vacating the sentence on one conviction would result in in a significantly lower overall sentence (from 600 to 240 months), remand would allow the sentencing court to “reconfigure the sentencing plan” to satisfy the sentencing factors in 18 USC § 3553(a).

United States v. Brown, 5 F.4th 913 (8th Cir. 2021). The government breaches a plea agreement by arguing for a higher offense level than that specified in the plea agreement. Even if the government could cure this type of breach, here, “its halfhearted and begrudging statement that the district court should follow the agreement was not enough.”

United States v. Corrigan, 6 F.4th 819 (8th Cir. 2021). A defendant may not appeal his imprisonment term if the court sentences him to the mandatory minimum.