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Irizarry v. United States

United States Supreme Court
128 S.Ct. 2198 (2008)


Irizzary (defendant) pled guilty to federal criminal charges. A presentence report recommended a sentence at the high end of federal sentencing guidelines based on enhancements related to the defendant’s conduct. Irizarry objected to the recommended enhancements. The trial court heard testimony from various witnesses and the judge issued an oral sentencing decision. The judge concluded that the highest recommendation under the sentencing guidelines was not appropriate in light of Irizarry’s conduct and imposed the more stringent maximum sentence authorized by statute. Irizarry appealed his conviction on the ground that Rule 32(h) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure required advance notice to the defendant any time that the court was considering imposing a sentence outside the parameters of the sentencing guidelines. The court of appeals concluded that the trial court’s deviation from the guidelines was a “variance” from the guidelines as opposed to a “departure” from the guidelines and therefore did not require advance notice under Rule 32(h). The court of appeals affirmed Irizarry’s sentence. Irizarry petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

Concurrence (Thomas, J.)

Dissent (Breyer, J.)

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