Federal Appeals Lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi Looks at Tapia v. United States 131 S.Ct. 2382 in Latest Installment of U.S.S.G. Awareness Campaign

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In the 14th installment of his U.S.S.G. awareness campaign, New York City-based Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi looks at Tapia v. United States 131 S.Ct. 2382, in which the Supreme Court affirmed that the District Court cannot impose a longer prison sentence than would otherwise be required to facilitate rehabilitation.

Federal Appeals Lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi Focuses on Tapia v. United States  in U.S.S.G. Awareness Campaign.

Federal Appeals Lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi Focuses on Tapia v. United States in U.S.S.G. Awareness Campaign.

In its judgment, the Supreme Court sent a clear message to judges: you can extend a sentence within the Guidelines only if you clearly perceive that doing so would be suitable for rehabilitation purposes.

Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi is focusing on Tapia v. United States 131 S.Ct. 2382 in his latest look at key cases that have shaped and defined United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.).

In Tapia v. United States, the petitioner Tapia was convicted of multiple offenses, including smuggling aliens into the US. Per United States Sentencing Guidelines, the District Court had the discretion of imposing a sentence of between 41 and 51 months. It ultimately opted for a 51-month sentence, arguing that the length would enable the Tapia to qualify for and complete a Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP).

Tapia appealed on the basis that the District Court, in imposing a sentence at the highest end of the Guidelines spectrum, had failed in its obligation per 18 U.S.C s3582(a) to “recognize that imprisonment is not an appropriate means of promoting correction and rehabilitation.”

The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s ruling. However, in 2011 the Supreme Court reversed the decision by confirming that 18 U.S.C s3582(a) prohibits Federal Courts from lengthening a sentence for any purpose other than to promote a defendant’s rehabilitation.    

“In its judgment, the Supreme Court sent a clear message to judges: you can extend a sentence within the Guidelines only if you clearly perceive that doing so would be suitable for rehabilitation purposes,” commented New York City-based Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi.

Added Mr. Preziosi: “This judgment also highlights just how significantly attitudes with respect to sentencing and rehabilitation have changed over the years. There was a time where a judge could render a sentence based on his or her opinion of whether an offender was amenable to rehabilitation. Now, in light of Tapia v. United States, we see a total rejection of that approach in favor of one that focuses on standards instead of perceptions. This is a development in the right direction. While we must allow judges to use their astute discretion with respect to sentencing, we can not allow individual preferences or, as in Tapia v. United States, arguably well-meaning intention, to override the principles upon which imprisonment is based.”        

Mr. Preziosi’s full analysis of Tapia v United States 131 S.Ct. 2382 is available on his firm’s website at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com/sentencing-reform-act-judge-cannot-lengthen-sentence-to-promote-rehabilitation/

For more information or media inquiries, email newyorkappellatelawyer(at)gmail(dot)com or phone (212) 300-3845.

About the Appellate Law Office of Stephen N. Preziosi, P.C.

Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi handles criminal appeals in all U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and in New York State Appellate Courts (including Appellate Divisions and the New York Court of Appeals). Whether a case is under the Penal Law in New York State Courts or under Federal Law in the U.S. District Courts, Mr. Preziosi has extensive experience with all types of appellate matters in both the New York State Courts and the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. Mr. Preziosi has pursued appellate cases in the Appellate Divisions, the Appellate

Terms and the highest court in the State of New York, the New York Court of Appeals. He has also taken on cases in the various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, and successfully identified legal issues, designed and written briefs and conducted oral argument. The firm’s practice is concentrated in the area of appeals in criminal matters in both State and Federal Courts, and Mr. Preziosi recently launched a United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG) awareness campaign to help the general public learn more about this critically important and influential aspect of criminal law.

Learn more at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com.

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