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Rita v. United States

United States Supreme Court
551 U.S. 338 (2007)


Rita (defendant) was convicted of charges related to the obstruction of a federal investigation. At sentencing, the judge considered a presentence report and the evidence and arguments of the parties. The judge sentenced Rita to the minimum sentence set forth in the applicable federal sentencing guidelines. Rita appealed on grounds that the sentence was unreasonable because it failed to take account of his personal history and character and because it was excessive relative to the goals of the federal sentencing statute. The court of appeals acknowledged precedent requiring it to set aside an unreasonable sentence, but afforded a presumption of reasonableness to any sentence imposed within the parameters of established sentencing guidelines. The court of appeals upheld Rita’s sentence and Rita petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Breyer, J.)

Concurrence (Stevens, J.)

Dissent (Scalia, J.)

Dissent (Souter, J.)

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