US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
United States v. Guerra Pleitez
Opinion Date: November 22, 2017
Judge: Edward C. Prado
Areas of Law: Criminal Law
Defendant pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of children by force, fraud, or coercion. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to pay restitution to the victims. After defendant's trial counsel was dismissed, but before his appellate counsel was appointed, the probation officer submitted a Fourth Addendum to defendant's presentence report (PSR) recommending a more onerous restitution award based on a new method of calculation. The Fifth Circuit held that the acceptance of an addendum to a PSR recommending a more onerous restitution award constitutes a critical stage. In this case, defendant was unconstitutionally deprived of the effective assistance of counsel during a critical stage of trial proceedings. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings.
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