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Sentencing Guidelines

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//February 26, 2024//

Sentencing Guidelines

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//February 26, 2024//

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: U.S. v. Yarmell Austin

Case No.: 23-2196

Officials: Rovner, Brennan, and Kirsch, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Sentencing Guidelines

Austin completed his 70-month sentence of imprisonment for being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1), on August 11, 2020, and began a three-year term of supervised release. In a February 3, 2023 special report, the probation office alleged that Austin violated his supervised release when he was arrested for burglary and possession of a controlled substance. The report also alleged that since December 2021, Austin had also violated his conditions of supervised release by failing to work, seek work, or participate in a job training program. The probation office filed two more supplemental reports: one on April 18, 2023, documenting that Austin further violated his supervised release by testing positive for fentanyl, norfentanyl, and morphine on February 24, and another on May 30, 2023, noting that on May 18, he once again tested positive for amphetamines, fentanyl, and opiates. The probation office recommended that Austin’s term of supervised release be revoked, and that Austin be sentenced to twenty-three months in prison with no supervised release to follow.

the Government agreed to dismiss the more serious violations of burglary and possession if Austin admitted to testing positive for illegal drug use, which he eventually did. The district court determined that Austin’s guideline range of imprisonment for his supervised release violation would be 8-14 months. Without hearing from the parties, the court then announced a sentence of eight months in prison. Realizing that it had not heard the positions of the parties, the court immediately rectified the error by inviting both parties to argue about the appropriate sentence. Austin filed an appeal on August 25, 2023, contending that the district court imposed a substantively unreasonable sentence of eight months’ incarceration for violating his supervised release, and erred procedurally while doing so. Because the defendant has been released from custody without further supervision and faces no collateral consequences of the revocation of supervised release, this appeal is dismissed as moot.

Appeal Dismissed.

Decided 02/22/24

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