September 5, 2006
Another below-guideline sentence reversed by the Fourth Circuit
Though it's old news, I continue to be amazed that decisions by district judges to impose a sentence below the guidelines are, roughly speaking, five times more likely to be reversed than affirmed (details here). The latest example I noticed comes from a Fourth Circuit ruling late last week in US v. Kahn, No. 04-4519 (4th Cir. Sept 1, 2006) (available here).
At the end of a long opinion in a multi-defendant case, Kahn provides an overview of the Fourth Circuit's approach to reasonableness review. Then it reverses a below-guideline sentence because, in the panel's opinion, the district judge gave "excessive weight to the need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities among defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of similar conduct ... [and] did not give proper weight to the other § 3553(a) factors." Tellingly, however, Kahn does not explain what § 3553(a) factors other than the guidelines were not given proper weight (even though the district judge had mentioned many others).
Some related reasonableness review posts:
- The central flaw in reasonableness review
- Tracking reasonableness review outcomes ... final update?
- Taking stock of post-Booker circuit splits
- Ninth Circuit clarifies en banc reasonableness issues
- YLJ Pocket Part review of appellate review after Booker
September 5, 2006 at 10:26 AM | Permalink
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