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Showing posts from January, 2016

Cross-examination of Allocution is Plain Error

In United States v. Moreno, No. 14-1568, 2016 WL 53796 (3d Cir., Jan. 5, 2016), Defendant was charged with wire fraud conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 1349 and 2, for his participation in a mortgage fraud scheme. Specifically, Defendant, an unlicensed appraiser, provided inflated appraisals to his co-conspirators who used them to secure loans for unqualified buyers. The jury returned a guilty verdict for all of the counts in the indictment. Defendant challenged his conviction on three grounds: violation of his rights under the Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause, violation of his right to allocution, and error in application of a sentencing enhancement.

At trial, defense counsel impeached a government cooperator as coloring his testimony in exchange for sentencing concessions.The prosecutor rehabilitated the cooperator by having him read into the record portions of memoranda written by a federal agent, documenting the cooperator’s proffer sessions. The Third Circuit hel…