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January 28, 2010

Fourth Circuit adopts plain-error review for unpreserved error of inadequate explanation

Joining most other circuit that have considered the question, the Fourth Circuit today in US v. Lyon, No. 08-5125 (4th Cir. Jan. 27, 2010) (available here), has formally adopted plain-error review for unpreserved procedural explanation errors after Booker.  Here is how the Lynn opinion starts: 

In each of these cases, an appellant contends that the sentencing court committed reversible procedural error by failing to consider the required sentencing factors and offer an adequate explanation for the sentence imposed.  When a party lodges such an objection in the sentencing court, we review for abuse of discretion. We consolidated these cases on appeal to resolve what standard of appellate review applies when a party lodges such an objection for the first time on appeal. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that we subject such unpreserved objections only to plain-error review.

January 28, 2010 at 05:56 PM | Permalink

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