Tapia v. United States
United States Supreme Court
564 U.S. 319 (2011)
The federal government (plaintiff) obtained Alejandra Tapia's (defendant's) conviction for smuggling unauthorized aliens into the United States. Prior to sentencing, the federal district court judge determined that Tapia needed treatment for drug abuse. One of the judge's reasons for sentencing Tapia to 51 months' imprisonment, the maximum penalty recommended by federal sentencing guidelines, was so Tapia could qualify for and complete the federal prison system's 500-hour Residential Drug Abuse Program. Although 18 U.S.C. § 3553 lists a convicted defendant's rehabilitation as one goal of punishment, the Sentencing Reform Act (SRA), 18 U.S.C. § 3582(a), instructs sentencing judges to "recogniz[e] that imprisonment is not an appropriate means of promoting correction and rehabilitation." Tapia appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, contending that the judge's sentencing rationale violated § 3582(a). The Ninth Circuit upheld Tapia's sentence and the Supreme Court agreed to hear her appeal.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kagan, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 724,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 724,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,600 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.