United States v. Stanislav Pavlenko (11th Cir. April 2019)

The Federal Docket

May 7, 2019

Appeals/Standing – An order dismissing an indictment based on the terms of a settlement agreement between the government and the defendant does not give the defendant standing to appeal the order where the order itself does not impose the conditions of the settlement agreement or any provision for enforcing the agreement.

On remand from an appellate court order vacating his conviction, Stanislav and the government entered into a settlement agreement in which the Government agreed to dismiss the charges against Pavlenko in exchange for his promise to abandon his lawful permanent resident status and voluntarily return to Russia for at least ten years.

The parties filed the settlement agreement with the district court and the government moved to dismiss the charges against Pavlenko without prejudice, specifically citing the terms of the settlement agreement. The court entered an order dismissing the indictment without prejudice and recited the terms of the settlement agreement, namely Pavlenko’s promise to leave the country for ten years.

Pavlenko appealed the order, arguing that the district court “exceeded its authority by creating a de facto ten-year probation and imposing a condition to which he never agreed.

The Court rejected Pavlenko’s appeal, holding that Pavlenko lacked standing, thus depriving the Court of jurisdiction to review the order. The Court explained that the fact that the order “paraphrased” the terms of the settlement agreement did not mean that the court imposed any conditions on Pavlenko or subject him to any supervision by the court. The order only dismissed the charges against Pavlenko, and the absence of a “concrete and particularized injury” traceable to the order deprived Pavlenko of standing to challenge it.

The Court noted that the order’s language stating that dismissal was “subject to” the defendant’s continued compliance with the settlement agreement did not actually impose probation on the defendant or create a supervisory role over the settlement agreement. Though the order recited the terms of the agreement, it did not give the district court power to enforce the agreement or impose any of its conditions on Pavlenko.

Appeal from the Southern District of Florida

Opinion by W. Pryor, joined by Newsom and Rosenthal (by designation from S.D. Texas)

Click here to read the opinion.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

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