Freeman v. United States Case Brief

Facts of the Case

Defendant was charged with two counts of first-degree premeditated murder while armed and other crimes. He denied committing the crimes and retained trial counsel. Trial counsel later moved to disqualify himself because he recognized that the proposed strategy of calling a former client to testify about having committed the murders presented an impermissible conflict of interest. The trial court found disqualification was required and also denied a motion to reinstate that counsel in a third trial. The trial court also denied defendant’smotion to vacate his sentence, without granting a hearing. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s judgments of conviction.


In order prove the association of enterprises in a criminal activity, does the government need to show connections between the enterprises beyond what is apparent in the criminal activity itself?


“Yes. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the lower court order in a plurality opinion. “The Justices who join this plurality opinion conclude that the categorical bar enacted by the Court of Appeals finds no support in §3582(c)(2), Rule11(c)(1)(C), or the relevant Guidelines policy statements,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote. In the controlling opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted: “In my view, the term of imprisonment imposed by a district court pursuant to an agreement authorized by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C) ((C) agreement) is ‘based on’ the agreement itself, not on the judge’s calculation of the Sentencing Guidelines.” Meanwhile, Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. “I agree with the concurrence that the sentence imposed under a Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement is based on the agreement, not the Sentencing Guidelines,” Roberts wrote. “I would, however, adhere to that logic regardless whether the agreement could be said to ‘use’ or ’employ’ a Guidelines range in arriving at the particular sentence specified in the agreement.””

Case Information

Citation: 564 US (2011)
Granted: Sep 28, 2010
Argued: Feb 23, 2011
Decided: Jun 23, 2011
Case Brief: 2011