Monday, January 14, 2013

Mandate Rule prevents district court from considering restitution award in case on remand

US v. Pileggi:   In this appeal, the Fourth Circuit considers whether the district court had the authority to reconsider a restitution award in a remanded case.  Previously, in a companion, unpublished opinion, the Fourth Circuit determined that the district court erred in sentencing the defendant, Giuseppe Pileggi, to 50 years of imprisonment for his role in a fraudulent sweepstakes scheme.   The Fourth Circuit here determined that the district court lacked authority to reconsider the amount of restitution on remand, and reinstated the district court’s original restitution amount ($4,274,078.40). 

Pileggi argued that the Fourth Circuit’s mandate to the district court remanded the case solely to correct the prison sentence (the district court reduced the 50-year sentence to 25 years) that allegedly violated the extradition agreement the government made with Costa Rica, where the sweepstakes scheme was operated; the restitution amount was not addressed in the direct appeal.   The Fourth Circuit “unhesitatingly conclude[d]” that the mandate rule barred the district court from reconsidering the restitution order on remand. 

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