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February 18, 2006

Tenth Circuit embraces presumption of reasonableness

When it rains, it pours: adding to major expositions in recent days from the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Circuits, the Tenth Circuit on Friday also opined at length about reasonableness review in US v. Kristl, No. 05-1067 (10th Cir. Feb. 17, 2006) (available here).  Here are some highlights from Kristl:

[W]e join our sister circuits and hold that a sentence that is properly calculated under the Guidelines is entitled to a rebuttable presumption of reasonableness.  This is a deferential standard that either the defendant or the government may rebut by demonstrating that the sentence is unreasonable when viewed against the other factors delineated in § 3553(a)....

In sum, today we adopt a two-step approach to the reasonableness standard of review announced in Booker.  First, we must determine whether the district court considered the applicable Guidelines range, reviewing its legal conclusions de novo and its factual findings for clear error.  A non-harmless error in this calculation entitles the defendant to a remand for resentencing.  If, however, the district court properly considers the relevant Guidelines range and sentences the defendant within that range, the sentence is presumptively reasonable.  The defendant may rebut this presumption by demonstrating that the sentence is unreasonable in light of the other sentencing factors laid out in § 3553(a).

February 18, 2006 at 01:58 AM | Permalink

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