Monday, December 18, 2006

Updward Departure Based on Criminal History Violates Booker

US v. Guyon: Guyon pleaded guilty to several fraud charges and faced a post-Blakely/pre-Booker Guideline range of 140 to 175 months. At sentencing, the Government moved for an upward departure because the Guideline range did not adequately reflect Guyon's criminal history, the similarity of his present offense to prior ones, and his likelihood of recidivism. Guyon objected on Sixth Amendment grounds, arguing that such a departure would depend on facts found by the district court beyond those to which Guyon pleaded guilty. The district court rejected Guyon's argument and sentenced him to 180 months in prison.

The Fourth Circuit vacated Guyon's sentence, holding that it violated Booker. Most notably, the court shot down the Government's argument that because the departure dealt with criminal history, it was covered by the Almendarez-Torres exception to the Apprendi/Blakely/Booker rule.

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