Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Smith: No Abuse in Imposing High End of Guidelines in Amended Crack Sentence

In U.S. v. Smith, No. 08-13215 (May 19, 2009), the Court held that the district court, at a resentencing pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) for a defendant eligible for a sentence reduction pursuant to the recent Amendment to the crack cocaine Guidelines, did not err in failing to adequately address the § 3553(a) factors when it imposed sentence at the high end of the amended guideline range. The Court stated that reversal on this ground is limited to situations "when the record contain[s] no evidence the district court had considered, or the defendant had even raised, the applicability of any of the § 3553(a) factors." Here, the defendant had raised these factors.
The Court also rejected the argument that the district court had the discretion to sentence below the amended guideline range, citing U.S. v. Melvin, 556 F.3d 1190 (11th Cir. 2009), cert.denied May 18, 2009.