United States v. Maria Soly Almonte (2d Cir. March 2020)

The Federal Docket

March 17, 2020

Sentencing/Sentencing Guidelines – A court may consider a defendant’s false testimony as a factor under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) without inquiring whether it warrants an enhancement for obstruction of justice under U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1.

Maria Soly Almonte appealed her 20-year sentence for sex trafficking, arguing that her sentence was procedurally unreasonable because the sentencing court considered her false testimony at trial as a § 3553(a) factor without finding that she obstructed justice under § 3C1.1.

The Second Circuit affirmed the sentence, noting that neither probation nor the Government had recommended an enhancement under § 3C1.1 and holding that the district court was not required to “sua sponte consider every conceivably applicable guideline.” In contrast, the language of § 3553(a) dictates that court’s “shall consider” certain factors relating to the defendant and the offense.

Appeal from the Southern District of New York

Opinion by Katzmann, joined by KEarse and Bianco

Click here to read the opinion.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

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