U.S. Fourth Circuit - The FindLaw 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Sentencing Issues in Criminal Matters

U.S. v. Hernandez, No. 08-5057, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a 262-month imprisonment, at the low end of the advisory guidelines range, and as requested for by the defendant during sentencing, for his drug conviction.  In holding that the sentence was not procedurally unreasonable because the explanation given in the context of this case was adequate, district court's sentence is affirmed. 

US v. Bethea, No. 09-4333, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of an enhanced 180-month sentence upon a defendant after determining that he had three prior ACCA-predicate convictions, including his prior conviction for violating South Carolina's escape statute.  However, because a conviction under South Carolina's escape statute does not inherently constitute a violent felony and because it cannot be determined whether defendant's conduct here necessarily violated the statute in a way that would bring him under the ACCA's ambit, his sentence is vacated and remanded. 

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