South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Courts Will Follow Sentencing Guidelines
Description Appeals court rejected a light sentence imposed on convicted felon as not reasonable. The Sentencing Guidelines are generally to be followed closely; judges are not to deviate from them because they may not think they are a good idea.
Topic Criminal Law
Key Words Sentencing Guidelines; Reasonableness
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Trupin was convicted of the crime of tax evasion. He failed to report $6 million over a six-year period. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, he should have received 41 to 51 months of imprisonment, but the district judge imposed a sentence of seven months. The judge stated that the guideline was unreasonable. The government appealed the sentence.

Remanded. The sentence was unreasonably lenient. The district court placed too much weight on the defendantís age (69) and his family circumstances. The court claimed he was unlikely to engage in more violations of the law, but he has a many year record of tax evasion, bad-faith bankruptcy filing, and other events that indicated over a decade of bad behavior. The fact that the sentence imposes a hardship on his wife is no different than the problem faced by many criminals. Failure to follow the sentencing guidelines because a judge does not like them is not reasonable. Defendant will be resentenced.

Citation U.S. v. Trupin, 475 F.3d 71 (2nd Cir., 2007)

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