RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Rhode Island General Assembly
DOCKET NO.: 99-8576
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
CITATION: 531 US 198 (2001)
ARGUED: Nov 27, 2000
DECIDED: Jan 09, 2001
Michael R. Dreeben - Department of Justice, argued the cause for the respondent
Michael L. Waldman - Argued the cause for the petitioner
Facts of the case
In the 1980's and early 1990's, Paul Glover was the Vice President and General Counsel of the Chicago Truck Drivers, Helpers, and Warehouse Workers Union. Ultimately, Glover was convicted of federal labor racketeering, money laundering, and tax evasion, among other things, after using his control over the union's investments to enrich himself through kickbacks. Glover's probation officer, in his pre-sentence investigation report, recommended that Glover's federal labor racketeering, money laundering, and tax evasion convictions be grouped under the United States Sentencing Commission's Guidelines Manual section 3D1.2, which allows the grouping of counts involving substantially the same harm. The Federal Government objected to the grouping and the District Court agreed. Glover's offense level was thus increased by two levels, resulting in an increased sentence of between 6 and 21 months. Glover's counsel did not pursue the grouping issue on appeal. Glover then filed a pro se motion to correct his sentence, arguing that his counsel's failure to pursue the issue was ineffective assistance, without which his offense level would have been lower. The District Court denied Glover's motion, concluding that a 6 to 21 month sentencing increase was not significant enough to establish prejudice under the test for ineffective assistance of counsel articulated in Strickland v. Washington. Thus, the court denied his ineffective-assistance claim. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
Is a significant increase on a prison sentence required in order to show prejudice in a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel?
Media for Glover v. United StatesAudio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 27, 2000 in Glover v. United States
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 09, 2001 in Glover v. United States
William H. Rehnquist:
The opinion of the Court in No. 99-8576 Glover against United States will be announced by Justice Kennedy.
Anthony M. Kennedy:
Now, the question in this case is whether an unlawful increase in a federal prison sentence and the increase was somewhere between 06 to 21 months can be non prejudicial when the prisoner claims the illegal sentence, the improper increase resulted from ineffective assistance of counsel.
After a petitioner Glover’s conviction the pre sentence investigation report recommended that his convictions for labor racketeering, money laundering, and tax evasions be grouped together under one of the sentencing guidelines.
The government objected to grouping those counts.
In Trial Court Glover’s attorneys did not submit papers or offer extensive oral arguments contesting this no grouping position on the part of the government.
When the District Court decided not to group the money laundering counts, Glover’s offense level was increased by two levels that yield a concomitant increase in the sentencing range.
On appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Glover’s attorneys did not raise the grouping issue.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed his conviction and the sentence.
Then Glover filed a pro se 2255 motion.
He argued that the failure of his counsel to press the grouping issue was ineffected the assistance of counsel at the sentencing proceeding.
Under Glover’s theory of the case is 84 months sentence for somewhere, as I have indicated between 06 and 21 months more than authorized by law because of the Trial Court’s alleged error in not grouping the offenses.
The District Court denied Glover’s 2255 motion.
It determined that under the Seventh Circuit precedent an increase of 06 to 21 months was not significant enough to prejudice for purposes of Strickland versus Washington.
As a result the District Court did not decide whether Glover’s attorneys fell below a reasonable standard of confidence.
The Court of Appeals affirmed and it relied on the same no prejudice theory.
We granted certiorari.
The government now acknowledges that the Seventh Circuit’s rule is inconsistent with this Court’s cases and unworkable.
It appears that the Seventh Circuit drew the substance of its no prejudice rule from our decision in Lockhart versus Fretwell.
That case held that in some circumstances a mere difference in outcome will not suffice to establish prejudice.
But we explained last time that our holding on Lockhart does not supplant the Strickland analysis.
The Seventh Circuit was incorrect to rely on Lockhart to deny relief to persons alleging deficient performance by counsel, because the alleged unlawful increase in sentence does not meet some baseline standard of prejudice.
Our jurisprudence suggests that any amount of actual jail time has Sixth Amendment significance.
Now, the Seventh Circuit’s rule is not well considered in any event because there is no obvious dividing line by which the measure how much longer a sentence must be to constitute substantial prejudice.
We express no opinion on the ultimate merits of Glover’s claim because the question on deficient performance is not a force, we also express no opinion on the alternative grounds of performance advanced by the government which were neither raised in nor passed upon by the Court of Appeals.
The judgment of the Seventh Circuit is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
The opinion of the Court is unanimous.