United States v. Ross (P)

The district court failed to explain why it imposed the defendant’s term of confinement and to address his non-frivolous arguments in favor of a lower sentence. These omissions render his sentence procedurally unreasonable.

The district court didn’t address or consider any of the numerous non-frivolous arguments advanced by defense counsel requesting a lower and concurrent sentence. The sentencing court didn’t provide an individualized assessment of important mitigation evidence, as it was required to do, including an assessment regarding the defendant’s mental health. The district court also failed to address the defendant’s history of gainful employment, his role as a caretaker for his aging mother, and the relatively small amount of illicit material found in his computer as mitigating factors when calculating his term of confinement.

The requirement that the district court adequately explain the term of confinement similarly applies to the special conditions of his supervised release. These errors are not harmless. However, this court makes no assessment regarding the fairness or propriety of the defendant’s term of confinement or special conditions of supervised release.

Vacated and remanded.

United States v. Ross (P), No. 17-4242, Jan. 14, 2019. 4th Cir. (Gregory) from DMD at Baltimore (Motz).

Categories: 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions, Published


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