Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Comparing Defendants with Different Criminal Histories Did Not Give Rise to Procedural Error at Sentencing

UNITED STATES V. JOHNSON, NO. 12-5094-cr (2D CIR. DEC. 16, 2013) (KATZMANN, WINTER, AND CALABRESI) (SUMMARY ORDER), AVAILABLE HERE

The defendant in this appeal challenged his sentence as procedurally and substantively unreasonable. He pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms and received 3 years' prison. At sentencing, the district court compared him to another defendant with a less serious criminal history and stated that their sentences had to be similar because both were equally involved in the offense. The Court held that no procedural error occurred as a result of the comparison made between what the defendant contended were differently situated defendants. Relying on United States v. Williams, 524 F.3d 209, 216 (2d Cir. 2008), the Court reiterated that a district court can consider "factors beyond the scope of § 3553(a), as long as the outside factors ‘are not inconsistent with those listed in § 3553(a) and are logically applied to the defendant’s circumstances."  According to the Court, the comparison was not inconsistent with sentencing factors and was logical according.  Moreover, the district court carefully considered Johnson's individual circumstances under § 3553(a), tying the sentence to these factors.  The Court also denied the substantive unreasonableness claim.  The sentence was the result of a significant downward departure based upon substantial assistance and in light of the defendant's criminal history and his conduct was reasonable.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great summary, Mr. Ser. Thanks for doing this!

December 18, 2013 at 7:56 PM  

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