Notable Decisions and Other News


Second Circuit to Hear Double Jeopardy Case

December 24, 2014

Rameen Smith was convicted of two counts of second-degree robbery and sentenced to concurrent determinate sentences of 11 years.  Post-release supervision (“PRS”) was not imposed.  Mr. Smith was later twice convicted of first-degree promoting prison contraband, for which he received consecutive sentences of 2 to 4 and 1 ½ to 3 years.  After Mr. Smith had already served 11 years, he was resentenced to add a term of PRS that had not been attached to his sentence originally. 

On appeal, the Appellate Division held that since the Department of Correction aggregates multiple sentences into a single sentence, and Mr. Smith was serving that single sentence when PRS was added, the resentencing did not violate either Due Process or Double Jeopardy. 

Appellate Advocates filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus arguing that Mr. Smith was NOT serving a single sentence, that he had already finished serving his 11-year determinate sentence for robbery, and that, therefore, adding a term of PRS violated due process and double jeopardy.  Finding that there was no clearly established federal law on this point, and that Mr. Smith was charged with the knowledge that his sentences would be aggregated, the District Court ruled that the Appellate Division’s decision was not an “unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.” 

Yesterday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals granted a application for a Certificate of Appealability.

Mr. Smith is represented by Paul Skip Laisure.