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APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MAINE [Hon. Gene Carter, U.S. District Judge]

In this sentencing appeal, we address for the first time two important questions. The principal question concerns the validity of an advance waiver of appellate rights contained in a plea agreement. *fn1 Although we conclude that such waivers are not forbidden, we refuse to give effect to the waiver in this case because the record offers no sufficient assurance that it was tendered knowingly and voluntarily.

Despite winning this battle, the appellant ultimately loses the war. Entertaining her appeal, we reach the second main question -one that involves the effect to be given to a stipulation, contained in a plea agreement, as to how a specific sentencing issue should be resolved. On the facts of this case, we hold that the district court did not commit reversible error in accepting and acting upon a stipulated cross-reference within the sentencing guidelines and, concomitantly, employing the stipulated base offense level (BOL) produced by the use of that cross-reference.

 
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