Friday, January 19, 2007

Fourth Circuit vacates upward sentencing variance

In United States v. Tucker, Tucker pled guilty to embezzling funds from her employer. The advisory guidelines range was 24 to 30 months' imprisonment and three to five years' supervised release. The district judge determined that an upward variance was appropriate because she had been convicted of embezzlement before and was using stolen money to pay restitution for previous convictions. The district court ultimately imposed a variance sentence of 144 months, followed by a five year term of supervised release during which Tucker would pay restitution of $77,223.83 for this offense. The sentence also requiredTucker to participate in a mental health treatment program and not to obtain employment in which she would have access to her employer's funds during the five year period of supervised release.

The Fourth Circuit vacated the sentence. Although Tucker's risk of recidivism could justify a variance sentence, the district court did not adequately justify the extent of the variance imposed.

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