Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ramirez: Second 851 Notice Unnecessary

In U.S. v. Ramirez, No. 06-16404 (Sept. 11, 2007), the Court held that when the government, after filing an original notice of intent to seek a mandatory life sentence, in accordance with 21 U.S.C. § 851(a)(1), thereafter filed a new information, but neglected to file a new § 851 notice, the omission did not prevent the imposition of a life-sentence.
The Court noted that in U.S. v. Thompson, 473 F.3d 1137 (11th Cir. 2006), the Court had held that an original § 851 notice sufficed, notwithstanding the failure to file a new notice after the government had filed a superseding indictment. Here, the government filed a new information, under a new case number. The Court held that, as in Thompson, "a second notice was unnecessary." The Court pointed out that Ramirez had notice of the government’s intent to seek the enhanced sentence. The Court cautioned that it might reach a different result if the § 851 notice related to a case "dismissed long ago."