United States v. Williams, No. 14-11131 (5th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Defendant pled guilty to intent to distribute cocaine base. As part of the agreement, the Government said it would recommend defendant be sentenced at the bottom of the applicable Guidelines range. Because the Government failed to make that recommendation, defendant appealed. The court held that, when the Government breaches a plea agreement, a defendant has the right (with a caveat the court discussed) to have his chosen remedy accepted, either specific performance of the plea agreement and resentencing before a different judge, or withdrawal of the guilty plea. Regardless of whether a breach must be material before a defendant is allowed to elect a remedy, the court concluded that the breach here was material. The court vacated and remanded for defendant to decide whether to withdraw his plea or be resentenced.