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April 29, 2009

Third Circuit finds failure to address departure arguments procedurally unreasonable

Continuing its important recent work on reasonableness review, the Third Circuit today provides another notable opinion in US v. Lofink, No. 08-3204 (3d Cir. April 29, 2009) (available here). His is how the ruling starts:

The United States District Court for the District of Delaware sentenced Defendant Anthony Lofink for his convictions on charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Lofink had moved for a departure from the Guidelines range contained in the Presentence Investigation Report (“PSR”), but the District Court denied the motion on the basis that it had taken Lofink’s arguments into account when fashioning his sentence.  Because our precedents require district courts to decide departure motions on their merits in order to satisfy the requirement of procedural reasonableness, we will vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing. In doing so, however, we intimate no opinion as to the merits of Lofink’s departure motion or the substantive reasonableness of the sentence the District Court imposed.

April 29, 2009 at 03:38 PM | Permalink

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