Archive | acceptance of responsibility

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Second Circuit Reverses Denial of USSG §3E.1.1(b) Sentencing Reduction

Today the Second Circuit vacated a sentence as procedurally unreasonable because the sentencing judge withheld the third point of a Guideline reduction for acceptance of responsibility. The summary order in United States v. Reyes, No. 16-2936 (Winter, Lynch, Droney) (appeal from Townes, J., EDNY), is available here.

Mr. Reyes was sentenced to life imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and second-degree obstruction of justice murder. The government consistently stated that he deserved a full three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility under U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1. The district court granted a two-level reduction under § 3E1.1(a), but denied an additional one-level reduction under § 3E1.1(b) on the ground that Mr. Reyes lied during his sentencing testimony about whether he was present when the murder was committed. (The defendant maintained at sentencing that he hired someone to kill a witness to a bank fraud scheme, but told …

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Categories: acceptance of responsibility, procedural reasonableness

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Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Second Circuit Vacates Above-Guidelines Illegal Reentry Sentence As Procedurally and Substantively Unreasonable

Today the Second Circuit issued an opinion vacating a 60-month illegal reentry sentence as both procedurally and substantively unreasonable. The opinion in United States v. Latchman Singh, No. 16-1111 (Kearse, Hall, Chin) (appeal from Forrest, J., SDNY), is available here. Judge Chin’s opinion touches on a number of recurring sentencing issues, and includes an important analysis of the distinction between presenting mitigating evidence and avoiding responsibility for one’s crimes.

Mr. Singh pleaded guilty to one count of illegal reentry after being removed following an aggravated felony conviction, see 8 U.S.C. § 1326(b). His record includes a number of convictions for non-violent offenses, several of which occurred more than a decade ago. The 15-21 Guidelines range for Mr. Singh’s sentence reflected a 3-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility. Prior to sentencing, he wrote a letter to the district court expressing remorse his actions and explaining the pressures that …

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Categories: acceptance of responsibility, illegal reentry, procedural reasonableness, sentencing, sentencing findings, substantive reasonableness

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Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Circuit overturns decision to withhold acceptance of responsibility despite guilty plea

In an opinion issued today, the Circuit vacated and remanded a decision by SDNY Judge Katherine B. Forrest to deny the defendant a reduction in offense level based on acceptance of responsibility despite his guilty plea.  You can access the decision in United States v. Delacruz, No. 15-4174, here.

The Circuit held that “[I]n light of a defendant’s due process right to contest alleged factual errors in his PSR, his good-faith objections to material PSR statements that he disputes does not provide a proper foundation for denial of the acceptance-of-responsibility credit.”  Op. at 22.  If the defendant objects to, and denies, facts that are neither part of the count(s) of conviction nor “relevant conduct” within the meaning of U.S.S.G. Section 1B1.3, the District Court may not deny an acceptance-of-responsibility reduction based on the defendant’s objections or denials.  Op. at 28. It may, however, consider in its analysis pursuant …

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Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Point of Controversy

United States v. Lee, No. 10-493-cr (2d Cir. July 26, 2011) (Parker, Chin, CJJ, Korman, DJ)

For the many years, the third acceptance of responsibility point – although to be completely faithful to guideline lingo, it is a “level,” not a “point,” since “points” are for criminal history – was something of a given. As long as the defendant either confessed early on or pled guilty timely, the reduction was granted. Effective November 1, 2003, however, the Commission amended the language of this adjustment, guideline section 3E1.1(b), to require a government motion for the third point. The amended section indicates that such a motion should state “that the defendant has assisted authorities in the investigation or prosecution of his own misconduct by timely notifying authorities of his intention to enter a plea of guilty, thereby permitting the government to avoid preparing for trial and permitting the government and the court …

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Categories: acceptance of responsibility, Uncategorized

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