United States v. Ruiz, 536 U.S. 622, 5 (2002)

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626

UNITED STATES v. RUIZ

Opinion of the Court

the absence of any agreement, Ruiz ultimately pleaded guilty.

At sentencing, Ruiz asked the judge to grant her the same two-level downward departure that the Government would have recommended had she accepted the "fast track" agreement. The Government opposed her request, and the District Court denied it, imposing a standard Guideline sentence instead. 241 F. 3d, at 1161.

Relying on 18 U. S. C. 3742, see infra, at 627, 628-629, Ruiz appealed her sentence to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit vacated the District Court's sentencing determination. The Ninth Circuit pointed out that the Constitution requires prosecutors to make certain impeachment information available to a defendant before trial. 241 F. 3d, at 1166. It decided that this obligation entitles defendants to receive that same information before they enter into a plea agreement. Id., at 1164. The Ninth Circuit also decided that the Constitution prohibits defendants from waiving their right to that information. Id., at 1165-1166. And it held that the prosecutors' standard "fast track" plea agreement was unlawful because it insisted upon that waiver. Id., at 1167. The Ninth Circuit remanded the case so that the District Court could decide any related factual disputes and determine an appropriate remedy. Id., at 1169.

The Government sought certiorari. It stressed what it considered serious adverse practical implications of the Ninth Circuit's constitutional holding. And it added that the holding is unique among courts of appeals. Pet. for Cert. 8. We granted the Government's petition. 534 U. S. 1074 (2002).

II

At the outset, we note that a question of statutory jurisdiction potentially blocks our consideration of the Ninth Circuit's constitutional holding. The relevant statute says that a

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