It is difficult to read Cirilo-Muñoz v. United States, No. 02-1846 (1st Cir. April 15, 2005), and not come away feeling that what little remedy the First Circuit has finally granted in this case (a remand for resentencing before the same district judge - although Circuit Judge Torruella's concurrence is sharply worded as to the matter of sending the case back to the same Judge) still amounts to a denial of justice. Resentencing will probably result in a lesser sentence being imposed, but if the facts related in the First Circuit's opinion and the concurrence are accurate, then there is still a denial of justice that a resentencing will not cure unless the trial court acts in an extremely conscientious manner and not as the First Circuit describes its actions to date. What the evidence truly shows --at best-- is Cirilo-Muñoz's participation as an accessory after the fact, rather than as a principal. This could and should have been avoided by the trial court in the first instance, and it is sad it was not.
The case involves the killing of a police officer, and that fact alone seems to have blinded the district court to all the other issues, including whether the police officer was even killed because of his status as a police officer. It also involves a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel on appeal, correctly decided by the First Circuit, but this is still a case of too little, too late by way of justice.