Case o' The Week: Government's Pleas Fall on Skeptical Ninth Ears – Armando Vera and Use of Co-D Plea Agreements at Sentencing

 If at first you don’t succeed, Find a co-d, make him plead, Use co-D’s plea to prove your fact, Then up to the Ninth, who sends you back.United States v. Armando Vera, 2018 WL 3097956 (9thCir. June 25, 2018), decision available here.Players: Decision by Judge Owens, joined by Judges Wardlaw and Nguyen.  Facts: Brothers Salvador and Armando Vera were convicted of a drug-trafficking conspiracy after trial. *1. In a welcome holding rejecting cop “interpretations” of recorded calls, the Ninth’s first opinion vacated the drug quantity findings and the defendant’s sentences. See United States v. Salvador Vera, 770 F.3d 1232 (9th Cir. 2014), see also blog entry here.   On round two of sentencing, the government decided not to try to fix the cops’ methodology, or actually call the co-conspirators to establish drug amounts. Armando Vera, 2018 WL 3097956, at *2. Instead, the government “relied…

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