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May 6, 2008

Tenth Circuit rejects government appeal of below-guideline sentence

In a decision that talks a lot about post-Gall sentencing realities, the Tenth Circuit today affirms a below-guideline sentence in US v. Munoz-Nava, No. 06-2247 (10th Cir. May 6, 2008) (available here).  The calculated guideline range in Munoz-Nava was 46-57 months and the district court imposed a sentence of one-year-and-one-day. 

The Munoz-Nava decision has lots of pro-discretion language that should please both district judges and defense attorneys; prosecutors, not so much.  Here is one of many notable paragraphs:

The government asks us to discount the district court’s imposition of a term of home confinement and supervised release. While not as severe as an equivalent custodial sentence, home confinement and supervised release substantially restrict the liberty of a defendant.  Gall, 128 S. Ct. at 595. Here, Muñoz-Nava is also subject to special conditions imposed by the court. In considering the sentence as a whole we cannot ignore non-custodial components.  See id. at 596. The imposition of home confinement and supervised release contributes to our conclusion that Muñoz-Nava’s sentence is reasonable.  The lengthy term of supervised release requires Muñoz-Nava to continue his good behavior and ensures that he will suffer consequences if he departs from his current path. The district court chose to emphasize these non-custodial components of the sentence in response to the specific characteristics of Muñoz- Nava.  This emphasis was not unreasonable.

May 6, 2008 at 04:48 PM | Permalink


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