THIRD CIRCUIT OUTLINES 3-STEP PROCEDURE FOR APPLYING FEDERAL SENTENCING GUIDELINES

U..S. v. DORCANT

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,  v. HUBERT DORCANT, Appellant.

No. 09-1259.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.

Submitted Under Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) March 9, 2010.

Filed: March 17, 2010.

 

In United States v. Gunter, 462 F.3d 237 (3d Cir.2006), this court made explicit the three-step process that the district courts of this Circuit must follow subsequent to the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 125 (2005).

 

First, the court must continue to calculate a defendant’s Guidelines sentence precisely as they would have before Booker.

 

Secondly, they must formally rule on the motions of both parties and state for the record whether they are granting a departure and how that departure affects the Guidelines calculation, taking into account our Circuit’s pre-Booker case law, which continues to have advisory force.

 

Thirdly, they are to exercise their discretion by considering the relevant § 3553(a) factors in setting the sentence they impose, regardless whether it varies from the sentence calculated under the Guidelines. U.S. v. Jackson, 467 F.3d 834, 837 (3d Cir. 2006).

 

We review the sentence imposed by the district court for an abuse of discretion. Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. 38, 51 (2007); see also United States v. Tomko, 562 F.3d 558, 567 (3d Cir. 2009) (en banc). We conduct that review for abuse of discretion in two stages. Tomko, 562 F.3d at 567.

 

 First, we ensure that “the district court committed no significant procedural error, such as failing to calculate (or improperly calculating) the Guidelines range, treating the Guidelines as mandatory, failing to consider the § 3553(a) factors, . . . or failing to adequately explain the chosen sentence[.]” Id.

 

Second, if the district court committed no procedural error, we consider the sentence’s substantive reasonableness. Id. Our review for substantive reasonableness is “highly deferential.” Id. at 568 (quoting United States v. Bungar, 478 F.3d 540, 543 (3d Cir. 2007)). In other words we will affirm the district court’s sentence “unless no reasonable sentencing court would have imposed the same sentence on that particular defendant for the reasons the district court provided.” Tomko, 562 F.3d at 568

Comments are closed.