United States v. Jensen

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 01-14-2013
  • Case #: 11-10472
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Graber for the Court; Circuit Judges Wallace and Berzon.
  • Full Text Opinion

The maximum sentence for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3146, failing to appear, is determined by looking to the maximum sentence imposed by the underlying offense and applying that in § 3146 framework.

Matthew Steven Jensen was convicted for failing to appear for service of sentence in violation of 18 U.S.C § 3146 and sentenced to 27 months in prison. Jensen received the sentence after he violated the terms of his supervised release for a previous class C felony. Jensen failed to surrender to U.S. Marshalls and after being caught Jensen pleaded guilty to failing to appear. The district court held that 18 U.S.C. § 3146(b)(1)(A)(ii) calls for a five-year maximum prison term and sentenced him accordingly. Jensen appealed the district court’s 27-month sentence based on the argument that sentencing guidelines for failing to appear falls under subsection (iii), which carries a two-year maximum sentence. The Ninth Circuit used a statutory analysis of 18 U.S.C. § 3146 and found in the language that punishment is provided for in subsection (b), and “3146(b) does not contain a fixed maximum term of imprisonment.” The Court found that the statute recommended that the maximum sentence be determined by looking to the statutory maximum prescribed by the underlying offence. Since the statutory maximum of Jensen’s class C felony was ten years, the Court held that the sentencing guidelines found in subsection (ii) applied and that a term of up to five-years was permissible. AFFIRMED.

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