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Media Alerts - United States of America v. Carlo Daniel Castro - Third Circuit
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January 11, 2013
  United States of America v. Carlo Daniel Castro - Third Circuit
Headline: Third Circuit Overturns Guilty Verdict of Former High Ranking Philadelphia Police Officer

Area of Law: Criminal Law

Issue(s) Presented: Can the statement of a defendant that is technical true sustain a conviction for making false statement(s) to a federal law enforcement officer where the Defendant believed the statement to be false when made?

Extended Summary:
Carlo Daniel Castro ("Castro") was a highly regarded, twenty-five year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department. Frustrated by a prior business deal gone sour, Castro spoke with a friend, Rony Moshe ("Moshe"), and sought to collect money from his former business partner. Unaware Moshe was an FBI informant, Castro instructed Moshe to find and hire someone to pressure his former partner into payment. Moshe reported Castro's conversation to the FBI who then investigated Castro using Moshe as an undercover operative. Moshe was given cash by the FBI and instructed to inform Castro that the money represented money obtained from his former business partner through various types of force and intimidation. At no time was Castro's former business partner actually being extorted or threatened despite Moshe's reports to Castro. When questioned by an FBI agent concerning his former business partner, Castro denied that he had received or collected any money from his former business partner. At trial, Castro admitted he lied to the agent when he made the statement denying his collection of money from his former partner.

After being indicted by a grand jury, Castro was eventually found guilty by a jury of making false statements to government law enforcement officials when he denied collecting money from his former business partner upon questioning by the FBI. The jury could not reach a verdict on the other nine counts of the indictment. In lieu of a second trial Castro entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney. Castro agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion and waive his right to appeal. At sentencing Castro was sentenced to 18 months for making false statements and 60 months on the conspiracy charge, a sentence in excess of the normal sentencing guidelines. Castro subsequently appealed to the Third Circuit alleging his conviction for making false statements was in error and not supported by the evidence. Additionally, Castro appealed his sentence on the conspiracy charge for exceeding the sentencing guidelines as well as the trial court's failure to grant a decrease in offense level agreed to by the US Attorney.
On appeal the Third Circuit declined to enforce the appellate waiver entered into by Castro as it applied to Castro's conviction for false statement. Acknowledging Castro entered into the appellate waiver voluntarily and with knowledge that it likely foreclosed appeals on these issues, the Third Circuit still refused to enforce the waiver. The Third Circuit found Castro's statement to the FBI to be literally true, even though Castro believed it was false at the time it was made. Castro's subjective state of mind regarding the veracity of his statement could not outweigh the requirement for actual falsity in perjury-type offenses. Since Castro did not actually lie to federal officers, the Third Circuit stated it would be a miscarriage of justice to enforce the appellate waiver to prevent Castro's appeal on the issue. On the merits, and in light of the technical truth of Castro's statements to federal officers, the Third Circuit overturned Castro's original conviction for making false statements. The Third Circuit refused to hear Castro's other appellate arguments and remanded the case back to the trial court for resentencing on the conspiracy charge.

To read the full opinion, please visit ">"><br ">&l......./op...113893p.pdf

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Panel (if known): McKee, Chief Judge; Jordan and Vanaskie, Circuit Judges

Argument Date: September 25, 2012

Date of Issued Opinion: January 8, 2013

Docket Number: Nos. 11-3893

Decided: Vacated defendant's conviction and remanded for resentencing on other charges.

Case Alert Author: David Herman

Counsel: Peter Goldberger, Esq., Ardmore, PA (Appellant)
Louis D. Lappen, Esq. Philadelphia, PA (Appellee)

Author of Opinion: Judge Jordan

Circuit: 3rd Circuit

Case Alert Circuit Supervisor: Susan L. DeJarnatt

Edited: 01/11/2013 at 03:46 PM by Media Alerts Moderator

    Posted By: Susan DeJarnatt @ 01/11/2013 02:43 PM     3rd Circuit  

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