Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, December 11, 2006

Lorenzo: Post-sentencing rehabilitation cannot count under 3553(a)

In U.S. v. Lorenzo, No. 05-16119 (Dec. 8, 2006) (Pryor, Fay, Reavley), the Court, on a government appeal, reversed a sentence where the district court, on resentencing with the defendant released from prison, had resentenced the defendant to time served, despite a guideline range of 24-30 months (less time served), on the basis of the defendant’s post-release conduct, which showed his ability to maintain a job and be employed in the community.
Reversing, the Court held that § 3553(a)(1), which indicates that "the history and circumstances of the defendant" should be taken into account at sentencing, should not include post-initial sentencing history and characteristics. The Court reasoned that taking post-sentencing conduct into consideration would "inequitably benefit the few defendants with the opportunity for re-sentencing and create unwarranted sentence disparities." In addition, such consideration was at odds with the Policy Statements of the Sentencing Guidelines.