United States v. Burden, No. 15-1080 (2d Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Defendants Burden and Buchanan were sentenced to life imprisonment based on their convictions for, among other things, racketeering, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base and five kilograms or more of cocaine. The Second Circuit held that defendants' appeal waivers were enforceable, but construed them narrowly so as not to encompass defendants' appeals of their terms of supervised release. The court declined to resolve whether the district court erred in failing to advise defendants that they faced terms of supervised release, because even assuming that it did, the error was not plain. However, plain error was committed when the district court implicitly hinged defendants' life terms of supervised release on the need for retribution—an imperative that was relevant to fashioning a term of incarceration, but not to fashioning a term of supervised release. Accordingly, the court vacated the terms of supervised release and remanded for resentencing. The court affirmed in all other respects.