Friday, January 20, 2017

District Courts Need Not Explain Rejection of § 3582(c)(2) Motion

U.S. v. Verdin-Garcia, 824 F.3d 1218 (6/3/16) (Kan.) (Published) - The 10th holds that 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c), which requires district courts to explain the reasons for their sentences, does not apply to § 3582(c)(2) proceedings. § 3582(c)(2) only requires consideration of § 3553(a) factors. The 10th recognizes the need for district courts to create a meaningful basis for appellate review. But that need does not require discussing every argument a defendant raises. The 10th acknowledges that other circuits place greater burdens on district courts, requiring them to provide some basis for their rulings. But a majority of those circuits do not require an explicit rejection of the defendant's nonfrivolous arguments, the 10th says. Apparently the 10th doesn't require district courts to provide some basis, [a possible ground for cert grant some day?]. In these three consolidated cases, the 10th summarizes, the district courts were not persuaded by the general and largely policy-based arguments of the defendants, discussing only a few. That's not an abuse of discretion, the 10th holds. The 10th also finds that USSG § 1B1.10 does not require consideration of a defendant's post-sentencing conduct. The guideline requires consideration of § 3553(a) factors and public safety, but it only says the court "may" consider post-sentencing conduct. In these cases, under amendment 782, the defendants' guideline range went from life to 360 to life, but the courts refused to lower their life sentences.