Federal Criminal Sentences in the Fourth Circuit

Although our federal criminal defense attorneys practice nationally, the majority of our cases are in the mid-Atlantic which falls into the Federal Fourth Circuit. Historically known as a conservative Circuit, the Court, which sits in Richmond, Virginia has directed the District Judges on a specific procedure they want followed in all post Booker federal sentencing
The Fourth Circuit has prescribed the steps the District Court must follow in imposing a sentence. First, the Court should calculate the proper guideline range after making appropriate findings of fact. United States v. Pauley, 511 F.3d 468 (4th Cir. 2007)(citing Gall, 128 S. Ct. at 596); see also Hughes, 401 F.3d at 546. “After calculating the Guidelines range, the sentencing court must give both the government and the defendant an opportunity to argue for whatever sentence they deem appropriate.” Id. The Court should then consider all of the § 3553(a) factors to determine whether they support the requested sentence. Id. If the guideline range does not serve the factors set forth in § 3553(a), then the Court may impose a non-guideline or “variance” sentence. United States v. Hampton, 441 F.3d 284, 287 (4th Cir. 2006); United States v. Moreland, 437 F.3d 424, 432 (4th Cir. 2006). The Court must articulate reasons for the sentence it imposes, particularly a variance sentence, by reference to the § 3553(a) factors and its factual findings. Id.

For more information on federal criminal matters and appeals in the Fourth Circuit, please contact us for a complimentary consultation.

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