CAAF decides Soto and PTA provisions

United States v. Soto is decided and the findings and sentence have been set aside.

It was always my view that “terms” of a pretrial that clued the judge into sentence limits ought to go in the sentence Part II portion of the pretrial.  So for example, a BCD striker clause seems like it ought to be in the Part II.  But not according to CAAF.  If the MJ knows up front there’s a BCD striker requirement then she knows there’s no BCD protection and likely other protections.

CAAF doesn’t say you can’t have such a provision, they kick that can down the road in footnote 1., they say it must be disclosed to the MJ during the Green/King inquiry.

CAAF expressed concerns that the MJ didn’t fully explore the BCD striker term and therefore it was not properly analysed for legality.  But that can always be done after sentence is announced.  The MJ could, and as this one should, have revisited the terms of the agreement and it’s legality.  So it seems the real error is the lack of detailed inquiry into the term, its origination, and the accused’s understanding.

I’m a fan of creative PTA’s.  I’m not sure this opinion is supportive of creativity that aids an accused.

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