Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Another guideline sentence affirmed, more specific reasons for sentence not required

On November 28, 2006, the Third Circuit issued another precedential decision affirming a within-guideline sentence. In United States v. Lloyd, No. 05-4241, the defendant pled guilty to a drug conspiracy and faced a range of 168-210 months. The district court imposed 168 months and, after a Booker remand, imposed the same sentence. The court reaffirmed its practice of applying plain error review to an unpreserved argument that the district court failed in its procedural approach to sentencing. While counsel may have strategic reasons for not making certain objections, any hope of meaningful review on these questions requires an objection in the district court. The court found no plain error in the failure to give more specific reasons, stating that "a court can provide concrete reasons for its sentence without speaking at great length." Also, the court found no plain error in failure to give greater weight to the defendant's post-sentencing rehabilitation efforts, concluding that such efforts will only be relevant in unusual circumstances given the unfair disadvantage of defendants who have no opportunity to come back for resentencing. The court also concluded that the sentence was reasonable.

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