United States v. Grant

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 12-05-2011
  • Case #: 10-10245
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Kleinfeld for the Court; Circuit Judges Beezer and Graber
  • Full Text Opinion

Rehabilitation is not an appropriate consideration for determining the length of imprisonment upon revocation of supervised release.

Leon W. Grant was convicted of fraud on two banks. Part of his sentence included five years of supervised release during which he was required to participate in substance abuse programs, pass drug testing, and refrain from alcohol consumption. He was caught violating the terms of his supervised release twice. The third time he was found in violation of his supervised release (violating the prohibition on alcohol and not showing up for a scheduled drug test), the district court sentenced him to 24 months in prison even though the Sentencing Guidelines call for a range of three to nine months for such violations. The judge explicitly stated that he imposed a longer term of imprisonment to facilitate Grant's rehabilitation. The Ninth Circuit heard the case on appeal to determine whether or not the Supreme Court's ruling in Tapia v. United States - which prohibits consideration of rehabilitation in initial sentencing - also applies to sentencing on revocation of supervised release. The Ninth Circuit joined the First Circuit in holding that the statutory prohibition on imprisonment "as an appropriate means of promoting correction and rehabilitation" in § 3852 of the Sentencing Guidelines applies to imposition of a prison sentence at any phase, and not just the initial sentencing. Duration of a prison sentence may be decided based only on considerations of retribution, deterrence, and incapacitation. Therefore, Grant's prison sentence was VACATED and REMANDED.

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