Monday, September 19, 2005

District court’s failure to include final forfeiture order was clerical error

In United States v. Bennett, No. 04-3650 (3d Cir. Sept. 12, 2005), the Third Circuit affirmed the district court’s amended judgment to include a final order of forfeiture three years after sentencing. Though Bennett was sentenced in August 2001, the district court did not amend the judgment to include a final forfeiture order, as required by Fed. R. Crim. P. 32.2(b)(3), until August 2004, relying on Fed. R. Crim. P. 36, which allows the court to correct clerical errors in the judgment. The Third Circuit concluded that the district court’s failure to make forfeiture a part of the sentence was clerical in nature, rather than substantive, because the parties had stipulated to the forfeiture, a preliminary order of forfeiture had been issued, and the omission of a final order resulted from organizational failure, not legal error.

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