United States v. Under Seal, No. 17-4558 (4th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Fourth Circuit affirmed Appellant’s sentence of forty-nine months entered after he pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to conspiracy to commit access-device fraud and aggravated identity theft, holding that Appellant was not entitled to relief on any of his arguments on appeal.
During the proceedings below, the government determined that Appellant had not fulfilled his obligation under the plea agreement to testify truthfully. The government then exercised its right under the agreement to refuse to move for a substantial-assistance sentence reduction. On appeal, Appellant argued that the district court erred by permitting the government to decline to move for a substantial-assistance reduction without requiring it to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Appellant had breached his obligations under the plea agreement. The Fourth Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the plea agreement was not ambiguous; and (2) Appellant’s approach requiring the government to declare Appellant in breach of the plea agreement was not supported by any language in the agreement or any principle of contract law.