USA v. James Scampitilla
Per Curiam OPINION filed: the district court's judgment is AFFIRMED, decision not for publication pursuant to local rule 206. Ronald Lee Gilman, Circuit Judge; Julia Smith Gibbons, Circuit Judge and John M. Rogers, Circuit Judge.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 12a1026n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
JAMES J. SCAMPITILLA,
Sep 21, 2012
ON APPEAL FROM THE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT FOR THE NORTHERN
DISTRICT OF OHIO
BEFORE: GILMAN, GIBBONS, and ROGERS, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM. James J. Scampitilla appeals the district court’s judgment of conviction and
Scampitilla was indicted on one count of bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a).
During a status conference, the district court was informed that a surveillance video of the robbery
appeared to show Scampitilla committing the offense and that Scampitilla had made a statement
admitting his guilt. When the district court asked Scampitilla’s counsel about his defense, counsel
stated that he was certain that a plea agreement would be reached with the prosecutor. The district
court continued the status conference pending the anticipated plea agreement, stating that “it sounds
to me like this can get resolved by a guilty plea.” Scampitilla subsequently pleaded guilty pursuant
to a plea agreement, and the district court sentenced him to 151 months in prison.
United States v. Scampitilla
On appeal, Scampitilla argues that, during the status conference, the district court improperly
participated in his plea negotiations by implying that the weight of the evidence should cause him
to plead guilty. Under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a district court is prohibited from
participating in plea negotiations. Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(1). Because Scampitilla did not present
this issue in the district court, we review it for plain error only. See United States v. Markin, 263
F.3d 491, 496 (6th Cir. 2001). To establish plain error, Scampitilla must show that an obvious or
clear error affected both his substantial rights and the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of his
judicial proceedings. See United States v. Inman, 666 F.3d 1001, 1003-04 (6th Cir. 2012).
The district court did not commit error, plain or otherwise, during the status conference
because its comments were focused on matters of scheduling rather than the substance of plea
negotiations. The court did not imply that Scampitilla should plead guilty, it did not suggest or
comment on the terms of a possible plea agreement, and it did not discuss potential sentences that
may be imposed.
Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s judgment.
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