Sentencing – A district court adequately explains a sentence if it enumerates factual justifications for its decision. Giving more weight to one § 3553(a) factor does not indicate that the court abused its discretion.
Olando Harris, Jr. pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and was sentenced to 92 months. Harris appealed, arguing that he should have been given a 33–44 month sentence.
The Court disagreed, holding that the district court properly considered the § 3533(a) factors by taking into account Harris’s prior convictions for violent crimes and Harris’s role as the instigator of a deadly encounter. Further, the district court “acknowledged that it had considered Harris’s salutary post-offense conduct” and “the recent turnaround in Harris’s behavior.” The Court held that giving more weight to criminal history and the seriousness of an offense, and less to post-offense conduct, is not an abuse of discretion.
The Court noted that the 92-month sentence does not change the calculus despite being at the bottom of the Guideline range “the probation officer would have applied.” The Court held that neither verbalized skepticism of a plea agreement nor a sentence above the Guidelines range demonstrate the trial court rejected a plea agreement that was explicitly accepted.
Appeal from the Middle District of Alabama
Opinion by Pryor, joined by Grant and Jung (by designation from M.D. Fla)
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