Monday, October 02, 2017

Procedurally flawed revocation sentence vacated

US v. Slappy:  Slappy received a supervised release revocation sentence of 36 months; she appealed, arguing that the sentence was plainly unreasonable because the sentencing court failed to address any of her non-frivolous arguments in support of a within-guidelines range sentence, or to explain at all why it imposed the statutory maximum sentence upon her.  The government countered that the court provided enough explanation and that it was not required to address mitigating evidence if it didn’t think a lower sentence was appropriate.  The Fourth Circuit vacated Slappy’s sentence and remanded for resentencing.

The Fourth Circuit reasoned that the district court committed procedural error by failing to address her arguments in favor of a sentence within-policy-statement range, and that the Fourth Circuit and the Supreme Court have both made clear that in imposing revocation sentences, like original sentences, the court must address arguments like Slappy’s, and if it rejects them, it must explain why.
The Fourth Circuit held here that a district court, when imposing a revocation sentence, must address the parties’ nonfrivolous arguments in favor of a particular sentence, and if it rejects these arguments, the court must explain why with sufficient detail that the appellate court can meaningfully consider the procedural reasonableness of the sentence imposed.

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