Remanding – Trial Judge’s failure to address claims of sentencing entrapment: United States v. McKeever, _ F.3d _ (D.C. Circuit, No. 13-3096, June 10, 2016)
June 10th was a day in which criminal appellants hit the trifecta in the D.C. Circuit. In the first of three decisions remanding appeals, a unanimous panel of the D.C. Circuit remanded lengthy sentences given to three appellants who raised sentencing entrapment claims arising from a so-called “reverse sting” operation.
In United States v. McKeever the defendants were prosecuted under the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951, for conspiracy to rob a liquor store and thereby interfere with commerce. Appellants each pleaded guilty and were sentenced. They principally argued on appeal that, inter alia, the District Court had erred in applying the so-called “Gun Bump” enhancement of Guidelines §§ 2B3.1(b)(2)(C) (five-level enhancement warranted if firearm brandished or possessed during robbery), to their sentence, reasoning that the conspiracy offense wasn’t covered by the bump. Although that theory proved unsuccessful (Slip Op. at 9-16), their key back-up claim earned a remand.