Monday, January 27th, 2014

Circuit Affirms 30-Year Prison Sentence for Recidivist Robber

United States v. Needham, No. 12-5130-cr (2d Cir. Jan. 24, 2014) (Jacobs, Chin, and Droney) (summary order), available here

Convicted of 11 Hobbs Act robberies and other crimes, Needham challenged her 30-year prison term as procedurally and substantively unreasonable. This summary order affirms the sentence.

The Circuit noted that the sentencing court properly calculated the Guidelines range and considered the applicable statutory factors and the parties’ oral and written arguments (including the government’s 5K1.1 letter). Judge Pauley explained in detail how he arrived at the sentence, which represented a substantial downward departure from the Guidelines range of 660 months-to-life. “Nothing more was required.”

The Court also held that the district court properly considered the significance of the defendant’s cooperation and the seriousness of her criminal record as compared to that of a co-defendant who received a lesser sentence of 130 months. Unlike the co-defendant, who participated in 14 robberies, Needham admitted participating in approximately 40 robberies, including two that ended in murder. Under these circumstances, the 30-year prison term was reasonable.  

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