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Gomez Cert Petition

Gomez Cert Petition

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Published by cbsradionews
Brief for Cert filed by Gomez in sentencing case at SCOTUS
Brief for Cert filed by Gomez in sentencing case at SCOTUS

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Published by: cbsradionews on Nov 30, 2013
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12/03/2013

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 No. ___________
In The
Supreme Court of the United States
 ________________________
C
LARVEE
G
OMEZ
,
 Petitioner,
 –v.–
U
NITED
S
TATES OF
 A 
MERICA 
,
Respondent.
 ________________________
On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals For the First Circuit PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI
Robert E. Toone* Daniel L. McFadden F
OLEY
H
OAG
LLP 155 Seaport Boulevard Boston, Massachusetts 02210-2600 (617) 832-1242 * Counsel of Record
 
 
QUESTIONS PRESENTED
In this case, petitioner was sentenced to a ten-year mandatory minimum under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)(ii) after the trial judge found that the offense involved at least five kilograms of cocaine, even though: (i) the indictment charged a lower drug quantity (500 grams) and a different offense, 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)(ii) (which imposes a five-year mandatory minimum for offenses involving at least 500 grams of cocaine); and (ii) the jury found only 500 grams. Both the indictment error and the judicial factfinding error were preserved in the district court and raised in the court of appeals. The First Circuit declined to grant relief, even after this Court’s ruling in
 Alleyne v. United States
, 133 S. Ct. 2151 (2013), on the ground that both errors were harmless. The questions presented are as follows: (1)
 
In a federal prosecution, can the punishment of a defendant for an offense not charged against him in the indictment constitute harmless error? (2)
 
In holding that the judicial factfinding error was harmless even though petitioner contested the element at trial, did the First Circuit apply the harmless-error standard contrary to the rulings of this Court and other circuit courts?
 
 - ii -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Questions Presented ....................................................................................................... i
 
Table of Contents ........................................................................................................... ii
 
Table of Authorities ...................................................................................................... iv
 
Petition for a Writ of Certiorari .................................................................................... 1
 
Parties to the Proceeding .............................................................................................. 1
 
Opinion Below ................................................................................................................ 1
 
Jurisdiction .................................................................................................................... 1
 
Constitutional and Statutory Provisions Involved ....................................................... 1
 
Statement ....................................................................................................................... 3
 
 A.
 
Proceedings in the District Court ................................................................. 3
 
B.
 
Proceedings in the Court of Appeals ............................................................. 6
 
Reasons for Granting Review ........................................................................................ 9
 
I. THE COURT SHOULD GRANT REVIEW TO RESOLVE TWO LONGSTANDING CIRCUIT SPLITS REGARDING WHETHER HARMLESS-ERROR ANALYSIS APPLIES TO CONSTITUTIONALLY DEFICIENT INDICTMENTS. .............................. 9
 
 A.
 
The Circuits Are Split on Whether an Objected-to Constructive  Amendment Requires Automatic Reversal. ....................................... 9
 
B.
 
The Circuits Are Split on Whether the Omission of an Offense Element Can Constitute Harmless Error. ....................................... 14
 
C. By Authorizing Prosecutors to Introduce Uncharged Offenses During Plea Negotiations and Pretrial Motion Practice, the First Circuit Has Stripped the Grand Jury of Its Constitutional Role and Exposed Citizens to Prosecutorial Abuse. ........................ 18
 
II. THE COURT SHOULD GRANT REVIEW TO RESOLVE A CIRCUIT SPLIT ON HOW HARMLESS-ERROR REVIEW APPLIES TO
 APPRENDI 
 ERRORS INVOLVING AN OMITTED ELEMENT THAT WAS CONTESTED AT TRIAL. .................................................................. 20
 

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