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Sentencing — mental health history

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Sentencing — mental health history

Where it cannot be determined whether the district court considered the defendant’s substantial mental health history, the sentence must be vacated.

“The only question here is on what side of the line the district court’s statement falls. Although it acknowledged that Vidal had mental-health issues, its statement gives us no insight into the judge’s evaluation of that condition. Indeed, one could infer simply from the participation of Dr. Pearlson, a forensic psychiatrist, that the court was aware that mental illness might need to be considered. But more than that is needed: The mention of a word is not the same thing as a discussion or an explanation. Particularly because Dr. Pearlson’s report went beyond describing Vidal’s mental disorders and predicted that he is less likely than the average person to recidivate, there was a need for the district court to explain why it thought that the latter point did not justify a lighter sentence. In short, this is not a case in which the record makes clear the court’s reasons for rejecting the proffered argument, see Rita v. United States, 551 U.S. 338, 357-58 (2007); Schroeder, 536 F.3d at 755; Miranda, 505 F.3d at 792.”

Vacated and Remanded.

11-3873 U.S. v. Vidal

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, St. Eve, J., Wood, J.

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