In United States v. Fidel Castro-Verdugo, the Ninth Circuit held that the court lacks the jurisdiction to correct an underlying unlawful sentence imposed by the district court in the context of a probation revocation appeal. Despite clear error on the part of the sentencing judge, Defendant-Appellant (Defendant) did not timely file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus; therefore, no remedy was available to him. The dissenting opinion asserted that the court did have jurisdiction to correct the error because Defendant appealed from a later sentence erroneously based on the underlying unlawful sentence. Noting that it is the role of appellate courts to correct errors made by lower courts, the dissent disagreed strongly with the majority’s decision to uphold a known error.
E. Rose London,
United States v. Fidel Castro-Verdugo: Unlawfully Sentenced Defendant Is Procedurally Barred From Relief, 46 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. 79