An Appeal to Remember

In U.S. v. Portis, the Fourth Circuit vacated the defendant’s conviction and remanded the case for additional proceedings, despite the fact that Portis pled guilty and that his conditional guilty plea was found to be defective. In his initial trial, Portis moved to suppress the evidence obtained during the search of his home as unlawful under the Fourth Amendment. After an evidentiary hearing on Portis’ Fourth Amendment claim, the district court denied the motion to suppress. Portis then entered a purported conditional plea, reserving the right to appeal the denial of his suppression motion. The conditional plea agreement did not meet the three requirements established in U.S. v. Bundy, 392 F.3d 641, which provides that the conditional plea must be: 1) offered in writing, 2) have the affirmative consent of the Government, and 3) have the approval of the district court. However, the judge allowed Portis’ appeal, because he only entered into the plea agreement and pled guilty based on the express understanding that he would be able to pursue this appeal.

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