Judge Erred by Not Giving Acceptance of Responsibility

In the federal case of the United States of America versus Javado Barner, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the trial judge erred when he denied Mr. Barner's three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility. The court of appeals concluded that this was one of those “unusual cases” in which the defendant went to trial, but “confessed to the factual elements of the crime of conviction.” The court pointed out that Barner had declined to plead guilty to the full indictment to pursue legal defenses as to the remaining counts--namely, that the conspiracy in which he participated was not a drug conspiracy, and that the Hobbs Act did not apply to his conduct. He was vindicated when the trial judge directed a verdict in his favor on eight counts, and the jury acquitted him on one count. Significantly, Barner did not take the stand in his defense, and he never denied having possessed the ecstasy.

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