Court Of Appeals Dismisses Federal Appeal Of Convicted Former Penn State Professor
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that on January 7, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit dismissed the appeal of Craig A. Grimes, former professor of materials science and engineering at Penn State.
In 2012, Grimes pled guilty to federal charges of wire fraud, false statements and money laundering stemming from Grimes’ misuse of federal grant funds totaling approximately $3 million obtained from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health.
Grimes pleaded guilty in February 2012 before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson pursuant to a plea agreement. As part of the agreement, Grimes waived his right to appeal. In November 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Yvette Kane sentenced Grimes to 41 months imprisonment, a sentence at the lower end of the guideline range.
Despite the appeal waiver Grimes appealed, claiming that the waiver was not knowing and voluntary and was a miscarriage of justice based on the argument that a valid waiver could not include potential waiver claims based on ineffective assistance of counsel. Grimes did not challenge the sentence, only the validity of the waiver.
The Court of Appeals held that under the facts of the case, Grimes’ waiver was made knowingly and voluntarily and that the waiver did not constitute a miscarriage of justice, noting that there were no unusual circumstances here, or failure to prove an essential element of the offenses charged, that might require a different result.
The Government’s appeal was argued by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Cerutti, II.