Published on: Monday, August 8, 2022

Man pleads guilty to committing a crime of violence while having failed to register as a sex offender (reserving his right to appeal the constitutionality of the law). In exchange, the government drops two other counts on which he had been indicted. He appeals . . . and wins! Feds: So how 'bout them other counts? Man: whoa, objection! That's not right. District court: The agreement never said government couldn't re-prosecute. Proceed.  Fourth Circuit: Not a chance. "We will enforce plea agreements even in the face of unanticipated changes in circumstances, on the theory that the parties have assumed the risk of such changes." Release him immediately.

The case is United States v. Petties, 21-4332 (4th Cir. Aug. 1, 2022).