Friday, August 16, 2013

As a matter of first impression, sentencing courts are not required to conduct two separate § 3553(a) analyses when imposing a new term of supervised release in addition to post-revocation imprisonment

United States v. Clark, No. 12-3462 (Aug. 13, 2013): During his term of supervised release, defendant Justin Clark was a passenger in vehicle pulled over out-of-state and found to be in possession of $20,000 in cash. Although no new criminal charges were brought as a result of this incident, Clark was charged with violating the terms of his supervised release for several traffic citations, failing to make payments on various fines and bank loan, and a positive drug test. Clark admitted to violating his supervised release and faced an advisory Guidelines range of 7 to 13 months. He argued for house arrest in lieu of incarceration. The district court sentenced him to 13 months imprisonment and a new 47 month term of supervised release. The sole basis for this sentence was Clark's overall conduct which, according to the court, demonstrated a general pattern of noncompliance with supervision.

On appeal, Clark argued that the district court should have been required to conduct two separate analyses under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) - one with respect to Clark's 13 month term of imprisonment and a second, separate analysis with respect to his 47 month term of supervised release. The Third Circuit rejected this argument, concluding that such an added layer of procedural formality would not further any substantive end because a full discussion of the § 3553(a) factors necessarily includes both the punitive purposes post-revocation incarceration as well as the rehabilitative purposes of supervised release. Here, however, the Third Circuit found the district court's procedure lacking. Specifically, while the record revealed a full discussion of the first § 3553(a) factor, the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant, the court merely enumerated the remaining § 3553(a) factors without discussion. This insufficient development of the record rendered the sentence imposed procedurally unreasonable and required a remand for resentencing.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:34 PM

    When will this awful, incompetent judge ever be required to retire. There is no excuse for his being allowed to continue to remain on the bench.


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