Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, August 07, 2020

Henry: Downward Adjustment Under USSG 5G1.3(b) is Mandatory Notwithstanding Booker

 In United States v. Henry, No. 18-15251 (Aug. 7, 2020) (William Pryor, Grant, Antoon), the Court vacated the district court’s refusal to adjust the defendant’s sentence under USSG 5G1.3(b) based on time served on a related state case.

Although there was no dispute that the criteria for an adjustment under 5G1.3 were satisfied, the district court refused to apply it because it determined that the Guidelines were advisory.  Disagreeing with other circuits, the Eleventh Circuit reached the contrary conclusion, holding that an adjustment under 5G1.3 is mandatory, notwithstanding Booker.  The Court reasoned that Booker rendered advisory only the Guideline provisions that relate to the guideline range.  But 5G1.3 relates to the imposition of the sentence and comes in to play only after the guideline range has been determined.  And because its application can only reduce (not increase) the defendant’s sentence, treating it as mandatory does not violate the Sixth Amendment.