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Fourth Circuit: Individualized sentencing assessment must be put on the record

Apr 28, 2009 Fourth Circuit: Individualized sentencing assessment must be put on the record

Bill of Rights. (From the public domain.)

A federal trial judge imposed a below-guidelines sentence for a firearms case. However, on April 27, 2009, the Fourth Circuit remanded for a resentencing, based on the trial court’s failure to "place on the record an ‘individualized assessment’ based on the particular facts of the case before it." U.S. v. Carter, ___ F.3d ___, slip op. at 8-9 (4th Cir., April 27, 2009). Such a trial court sentencing approach is required whether or not the sentence falls within, above, or below sentencing guidelines. Id. 

In footnote 3, Carter says: "In reaching this holding, we join our sister circuits who, after Gall, have similarly vacated sentences as procedurally unreasonable because the district court failed to offer a sufficient rationale for the sentence. See, e.g., United States v. Gapinski, __ F.3d __, 2009 WL 860059, at *1 (6th Cir. Apr. 2, 2009) (vacating sentence based on downward variance for failing to explain denial of additional downward variance); Stephens, 549 F.3d at 466-67 (vacating within-Guidelines sentence); United States v. Livesay, 525 F.3d 1081, 1093-94 (11th Cir. 2008) (vacating sentence based on a downward variance)." U.S. v. Carter, ___ F.3d ___, slip op. at 9.

 

Jon Katz

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