Friday, May 08, 2015

Tenth Agrees that District Court Committed Plain, Procedural Error at Sentencing

U.S. v. Sicairos, 2015 WL 1948434 (5/1/15) (Col.) (unpub'd) - A defense victory acquiesced in by the government. The district court varied down two offense levels from a guideline range of 151 to 188 months, did not recalculate the new range and then, without explanation, sentenced Mr. Sicairos to 188 months, the bottom of the original guideline range. This constituted procedural error warranting reversal under plain error review, the 10th decides. The 10th does not explain why this is so, but Mr. Sicairos is not complaining. On the other hand, in a footnote, the 10th unhelpfully notes that at the sentencing hearing held before November 1, 2015, the parties thought the impending reduction of offense levels for meth would result in a two-level decrease for Mr. Sicairos. But the 10th points out the 11.59 kilograms of ice would still lead to the same offense level as before the amendments took effect.