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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit posts one today

USA v. BOWNES, MARVIS H. (SD Ill.) [6 pp]

Before POSNER, RIPPLE, and MANION, Circuit Judges.
POSNER, Circuit Judge. We have consolidated for argument and decision defendant Bownes’s appeals from his sentence and from other orders issued by the district court. The primary charge against him was mail fraud arising from a “land flipping” scheme whereby he would acquire homes in a poor area at low prices and resell them to poor people at high prices, financing the sales by obtaining inflated mortgage loans through the submission of false appraisals by crooked appraisers acting in concert with him. He was also charged with threatening a reporter who investigated the scheme. He pleaded guilty to the charges in accordance with a plea agreement (actually two agreements, but we can ignore that detail) and was sentenced to 210 months in prison and also ordered to pay almost $2.5 million in restitution. His appeals raise a number of issues, including whether he should be resentenced in the light of United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005). But we cannot reach that or any other issue if, as the government argues, the plea agreement, negotiated by Bownes’s lawyer, waived Bownes’s right of appeal.
[What follows is an important discussion of plea agreements by Judge Posner - must reading for the criminal bar.]

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 26, 2005 01:07 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions