Post-Sentencing Appellate Waivers

A sentencing appellate waiver is a criminal defendant’s promise not to appeal her sentence. These provisions routinely appear in federal defendants’ plea agreements. With a few narrow exceptions, a knowing and voluntary sentencing appellate waiver bars a defendant from appealing all issues within the waiver’s scope. Using models of judicial behavior and empirical studies, this Article argues that the inclusion of sentencing appellate waivers in plea agreements creates bargaining inefficiencies and removes important incentives from the sentencing process. As a solution, the Article proposes that sentencing appellate waivers should take the form of separate post-sentencing agreements.