United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Sentencing — reasonableness
A 480-month sentence for felon in possession of a firearm, 153 months in excess of the guideline, is not substantively unreasonable.
“The district court discussed at length the violent nature of Taylor’s offense as well as his extensive criminal history, and it explained the ways in which the guideline range did not adequately reflect the seriousness of the offense. The district court classified Taylor’s conduct as ‘egregious’ and emphasized the need to deter gang members and other individuals from possessing guns illegally. A sentence that requires a defendant to serve 153 months above the guideline range for a felon-in-possession conviction is undoubtedly a harsh sentence. But we are not presented with a case in which the court’s rationale for the above-guidelines sentence ‘provides little more than what is implicit in the instant offense.’ See United States v. Bradley, 675 F.3d 1021, 1025 (7th Cir. 2012) (concluding that the district judge did not provide ‘sufficient justification’ for imposing a sentence 169 months above the guidelines range). Taylor did not just possess a firearm. He went on a shooting spree and fired several shots at multiple residences and at a vehicle in an attempt to retaliate against rival gang members. The district judge concluded that Taylor had shown complete disrespect for the law by collecting nearly double the maximum number of criminal history points that are considered under the guidelines. A district court must provide a significant justification to support a major departure from the guidelines, but the justification need not be extraordinary. United States v. Brown, 610 F.3d 395, 398 (7th Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). The district court’s explanation of its sentencing determination reflects a serious consideration of the factors in § 3553(a), and under an abuse-of-discretion standard, we must give deference to the district court’s determination that the factors justify a 480-month term of imprisonment in this case.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Der-Yeghiayan, J., Flaum, J.