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Limited Remand Case Analysis

The decision is not the first to review the reasonableness of a sentence after a Paladino remand, but it is significant, nevertheless.

In U.S. v. Mykytiuk, No. 04-1196, 2005 WL 1592956 (7th Cir., July 7, 2005), the court affirmed a sentence after a limited remand, but did not, at any point, set forth any of the substance of the district court’s statement.

The court there merely stated, "On the limited Paladino remand, the court considered the relevant factors in sec. 3553(a) and found that they did not necessitate shortening of Mykytiuk’s sentence."

In contrast, the court in the case at bar set forth the district court’s justification in its entirety, and found it "more than adequate."

This is noteworthy because there is little in the statement after remand that mentions sec. 3553(a) factors; instead, the statement is more of an iteration of the reasons for the original sentence, which are fully accounted for in express provisions of the guidelines.

For example, the court noted that the offense involved more than minimal planning. However, that is a factor accounted for in the guidelines and resulted in a two-level enhancement pursuant to U.S.S.G. 2F1.1(b)(2)(A).

The court also noted the large amount of the loss involved; again, however, that is taken into account by the guidelines, sec. 2F1.1(b)(1)(M). The court noted that a number of charges were dismissed; however, that conduct is taken into account in calculating the amount of loss.

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In addition, the court noted that he had tried to escape responsibility by fleeing the country; again, that is accounted for in the obstruction-of-justice guideline, sec. 3C1.1.

From this we can distill the following principle of law: when reviewing a sentence imposed within a properly-calculated guideline range, little if anything is required, but that the court discuss the sentencing factors that resulted in that range; independent consideration of sec. 3553(a) factors is not required.

While it may seem that more should be required, this principle is consistent with U.S. v. Dean, No. 04-3172, 2005 WL 1592960 (7th Cir., July 7, 2005), in which the court held, "Explicit fact-finding is required, however, [on sec. 3553(a) factors] if, though only if, contested facts are material to the judge’s sentencing decision."

– David Ziemer

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David Ziemer can be reached by email.

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