Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fourth Circuit issues sentencing guidelines opinion

In UNITED STATES v. GUYON, the Fourth Circuit considered a 2004 sentencing wherein the District Court sentenced Guyon to 180 months when the then mandatory Federal Sentencing Guidelines established a sentencing range of 140 to 175 months and permitted the district court to deviate from this range only if it found facts justifying a departure. Judicial finding of fact persuaded the District Court that an upward departure was appropriate. Guyon appealed, challenging his sentence under United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005).

The Fourth Circuit noted that the District Court could not have sentenced Guyon above 175 months without making the forbidden factual finding. Hence, but for the error, Guyon would have received a shorter sentence. The Court vacated and remanded for resentencing.

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