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United States v. Arroyo-Blas

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

April 15, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
MIGUELITO ARROYO-BLAS, Defendant, Appellant

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO. Hon. Jay A. García Gregory, U.S. District Judge.

Appeal dismissed.

Rick Nemcik-Cruz for appellant.

John A. Matthews II, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Nelson Pérez-Sosa, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, and Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, were on brief, for appellee.

Before Lynch, Chief Judge, Howard and Thompson, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 362

THOMPSON, Circuit Judge.

The ostrich's undeserved claim to fame is that it buries its head in the sand instead of facing danger.[1] Parties to litigation sometimes act like this, too. Case in point is our appellant, Miguelito Arroyo-Blas (" Arroyo-Blas" ), who by ignoring a plea agreement's clear waiver of appeal provision fares no better here than we imagine our proverbial ostrich does when confronted by a predator in the wild.

I. BACKGROUND

This case has its genesis in Arroyo-Blas's guilty plea (pursuant to a written Plea Agreement) to Count I of a four-count Indictment charging him and several others with various drug crimes. In entering his plea, Arroyo-Blas admitted that he was an organizer and leader of a drug conspiracy that imported five or more kilo

Page 363

grams of cocaine into Puerto Rico from June 2007 to January 2010.

Center stage in this appeal is occupied by the Plea Agreement, not the facts of the offense. The Agreement was made pursuant to Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(A) and (C). Because these rules loom large over what's to come, we set them out now.

Rule 11(c) provides, as important here, the following:

(1) In General. An attorney for the government and the defendant's attorney . . . may discuss and reach a plea agreement. The court must not participate in these discussions. If the defendant pleads guilty or nolo contendere to either a charged offense or a lesser or related offense, ...

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