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November 2, 2007

Are most 1/3 downward variances reasonable, while most larger ones aren't?

Two very interesting sentencing cases decided by the Eighth Circuit have me wondering this reasonableness rule of thumb may exist in the Eighth Circuit and elsewhere: most downward variances of 1/3 or less from the bottom of the applicable range are presumptively reasonable, while larger one presumptively are not.  Here are the unofficial summaries of the two Eighth Circuit decisions that have me thinking about this reasonableness rule of thumb:

Of course, these two cases alone do not indicate that the Eighth Circuit or other circuits have a 1/3 variance reasonableness rule of thumb.  However, I have a sense that most downward variances of 1/3 or less are not even appealed and most get upheld absent a real problematic rationale.  And, conversely, I sense that many appealed downward variances greater than 1/3 are reversed absent a real compelling rationale.

November 2, 2007 at 01:51 PM | Permalink

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