Appellate Intervention and Issues Not Raised (Part 4)

by | Dec 10, 2018 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

The Government and dissent also assert that Rosales-Mireles’ sentence is presumptively reasonable because it falls within the corrected Guidelines range. But a court of appeals can consider a sentence’s substantive reasonableness only after it ensures “that the district court committed no significant procedural error, such as failing to calculate (or improperly calculating) the Guidelines range.” Gall v. United States, 552 U. S. 38, 51. If a district court cannot properly determine whether, considering all sentencing factors, including the correct Guidelines range, a sentence is “sufficient, but not greater than necessary,” 18 U. S. C. §3553(a), the resulting sentence would not bear the reliability that would support a “presumption of reasonableness” on review. See 552 U. S., at 51. And regardless of its ultimate reasonableness, a sentence that lacks reliability because of unjust procedures may well undermine public perception of the proceedings.

Finally, the Government and dissent maintain that the Court’s decision will create an opportunity for “sandbagging” that Rule 52(b) is supposed to prevent. But that concern fails to account for the realities at play in sentencing proceedings, where it is highly speculative that a defendant would benefit from a strategy of deliberately forgoing an objection in the district court, with hopes of arguing for reversal under plain-error review later. The Fifth Circuit’s decision is reversed and remanded.

Justice Sotomayor’s majority opinion was joined by Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Kennedy, Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, Justice Kagan, and Justice Gorsuch. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion in which he was joined by Justice Alito.

Another point that builds relate to Justice Sotomayor’s last point, is that it is the Court’s and prosecutions duty to also make sure that the relevant factors are considered at sentencing and irrelevant factors not considered. Moreover, there is no concern for the reversal of a conviction, but only the reversal of a sentence. As noted, a remand for re-sentencing is a very brief proceeding compared to a remand for a new trial.