United States v. Palacios, Jr., No. 14-40279 (5th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Defendant, a licensed attorney, was convicted of possession with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and sentenced to 144 months in prison. On appeal, defendant argues that the district court committed reversible error by denying him the right of allocution before pronouncing his sentence. In this case, the record does not show that defendant was given a specific and unequivocal opportunity to speak in mitigation of his sentence. The court concluded that the district court's failure to provide defendant the opportunity to allocute before sentencing amounted to plain error that affected his substantial rights, warranting the court’s exercise of discretion to correct the error. Accordingly, the court vacated the sentence and remanded for resentencing.