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7th Circuit rules on sentence reduction

April 12, 2012

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a man resentenced because the District judge erred by not granting the defendant the one-level reduction under the United States Sentencing Guidelines that was triggered by the government’s motion.

In United States of America v. Jaymie T. Mount, No. 11-2616, Jaymie T. Mount appealed Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson’s refusal to grant the government’s motion for Mount to receive an additional one-level reduction following his decision to plead guilty to possession of a gun by a felon. While awaiting trial on the charge, Mount disappeared for nearly three months before being captured. He pleaded guilty to the gun charge, which led to the District Court granting him a two-level reduction in his offense level under the sentencing guidelines. But Magnus-Stinson denied the one-level reduction based on Mount’s decision to flee.

Mount argued that the one-level reduction is mandatory once the government determines that the criteria spelled out in U.S.S.G. Section 3E1.1(b) are satisfied and it makes the necessary motion. The federal appellate court hasn’t squarely addressed this issue, but it agreed with Mount. The judges looked to decisions from other Circuits and the language of the guidelines to find the reduction is mandatory.

However, nothing in Mount’s argument touches on the District Court’s duty to evaluate the outcome of the correct computation of the advisory guideline range and then impose a reasonable sentence. In this case, the judges found Magnus-Stinson erred in not granting the one-level reduction because it ultimately affected the advisory guideline range.


 

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