United States v. Njos, No. 21-3412 (7th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
In 2007, Njos pleaded guilty to six federal crimes arising from robberies, and for attempted escape and assault of an FBI agent after his arrest. During his term of supervised release, he tested positive for illegal substances and failed to report. Njos then pleaded guilty in Illinois state court to eight new robberies. The state courts sentenced him to 25 years.
The federal government petitioned to revoke Njos’s federal supervised release. Njos, proceeding pro se, repeatedly asked to be returned to the Illinois Department of Corrections and requested a 24-month sentence, concurrent with his state sentences. He argued that his underlying federal convictions were class C and D felonies and cited his history of mental illness. Noting Njos's wish to expedite the proceedings, the court said: “You don’t need to be in court for this,” proposing to enter a written order imposing his sentence. Njos thanked the judge, Neither Njos nor the government objected. The court later imposed a total of 82 months in prison for the six revocations.
The only issue that appointed counsel deemed strong enough to raise on appeal was the imposition of a sentence in a written order rather than with the defendant present in person. When counsel decline to raise other issues that Njos wished to argue, Njos moved to dismiss counsel, submitting a brief of his preferred arguments. The Seventh Circuit denied Njos’s motion to dismiss counsel but allowed him to file the supplemental brief. On reconsideration, the court dismissed counsel and rejected Njos’s arguments about the calculation and reasonable of his sentence.