Federal Appeals Lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi’s United States Sentencing Guidelines Awareness Campaign Looks at Gall v. United States

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Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi’s Federal Sentencing Guidelines Awareness Campaign continues with a look at Gall v. United States, which: confirmed that the District Court did not commit an abuse of discretion when it deviated from the Guidelines range; clarified the correct District Court sentencing procedure; and established the procedure and standard of review for the Appellate Courts when reviewing a sentencing decision.

The Appellate Law Office of Stephen N. Preziosi, P.C.

New York Appellate Lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi Continues his Federal Sentencing Guidelines Awareness Campaign

Gall v. United States provided an opportunity for the Supreme Court to confirm the procedures that District Courts must follow during sentencing, and established the standard for appellate courts when reviewing a sentence.

In the third installment of his United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.) campaign, federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi is examining Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. 38 (2007).

“Gall v. United States is a major case in the history of Federal Sentencing Guidelines, because it provided an opportunity for the Supreme Court to confirm the procedures that District Courts must follow during sentencing,” commented Mr. Preziosi, whose practice is located in New York City’s Times Square. “It also established the standard for appellate courts when reviewing a sentence handed down in the post-United States v. Booker era”

In Gall v. United States, the defendant Gall was part of conspiracy that distributed approximately $30,000 worth of ecstasy. After a few months, Gall withdrew from the conspiracy, finished college, moved to another state, and established a law-abiding life.

More than a year later, Gall and his other co-conspirators were indicted, and he was subsequently convicted. However, while the United States Sentencing Guidelines suggested that Gall should be jailed between 30 and 37 months, the District Court sentenced him to 36 months of probation and no jail time.

On appeal, the sentence was struck down by the Circuit Court of Appeals, which claimed that the District Court committed an abuse of discretion by not imposing a jail sentence per the Guidelines. However, the Supreme Court overturned the decision, and confirmed that that District Court committed no procedural errors or abused its discretion.

“In terms of the procedures that the District Court must follow, the Supreme Court established that the District Court has the authority to impose a sentence that is less, within or above the range suggested by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, provided that it first calculates the correct range and uses it as starting point,” commented Mr. Preziosi. “From there, both the prosecution and defense must be allowed to argue facts with respect to sentence type and duration, and ultimately, the District Court would render its sentence in light of those facts and the criteria set out in 18 U.S.C.A. § 3553(a). In other words, just as the Supreme Court set forth in Rita v. United States, it was affirmed that the District Court cannot assume that a within Guidelines sentence is inherently reasonable. Rather, it must make an assessment based on the unique facts and evidence of a particular case, and justify in open court whatever sentence it ultimately renders”

Added Mr. Preziosi: “And with respect to the standard of review that the Circuit Court of Appeals must follow, the Supreme Court ruled that it must employ an abuse-of-discretion standard, regardless of whether the imposed sentence was below, within or above that suggested by the U.S.S.G. This abuse-of-discretion standard requires that there be no evidence of significant procedural error, that the Guidelines aren’t interpreted as mandatory, that no factors set forth in § 3553(a) are neglected, that the sentence doesn’t stem from facts that are clearly incorrect, and that the sentence is thoroughly explained by the District Court in open court. In essence, the Supreme Court clarified that, when a sentence falls outside the Guidelines range, the Appellate Court may consider the extent of the deviation, but it cannot presume that the District Court’s decision was unreasonable.”

Mr. Preziosi’s full analysis of Gall v. United States is available on his firm’s website at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com/gall-v-united-states-federal-sentencing-procedures-and-standard-of-review-under-the-post-booker-era-united-states-sentencing-guidelines/.

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 Federal Sentencing Guidelines 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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