By Taylor Ey

Did the District Court Impose an Appropriate Sentence After Appellant’s Supervised Release Was Revoked?

Today, the Fourth Circuit issued a per curiam opinion, affirming the judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in U.S. v. Greene.  In this case, Appellant Greene appealed his twenty-four month sentence imposed after his supervised release was revoked.  The Fourth Circuit reviewed the district court’s decision to determine whether the sentence was “plainly unreasonable.”

The Sentence Is Inappropriate if It Is “Plainly Unreasonable”

First, the Fourth Circuit looked to whether the sentence was procedurally reasonable.  A sentence is procedurally reasonable if the district court considered Chapter Seven of the Sentencing Guidelines and 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) (2012).  The district court must also explain its issued sentence.  However, the sentence after supervised release “need not be as detailed or specific” as the original sentence explantation.  Secondly, the sentence is substantively reasonable if the district court stated a proper basis for its conclusion.

The Sentence Was Procedurally and Substantively Reasonable

The Fourth Circuit concluded that the sentence was procedurally reasonable because the sentence was within the two-year statutory maximum, and the district court considered the § 3553 factors.

The sentence was substantively reasonable because the district court appropriately exercised its discretion in issuing the maximum sentence because of appellant’s repeated drug use.   The appellant could not or would not abide by the terms of his supervised release because he frequently smoked marijuana.  The probation office repeatedly attempted to help appellant conquer his drug addiction. However, appellant was unable to change his behavior, and thus the altered term of incarceration was appropriate.

 Appellant’s Sentence Was Affirmed

The Fourth Circuit concluded that, although the district court originally gave appellant a lenient sentence, the court did not abuse its discretion when it issued the longer sentence after appellant breached the trust and leniency it afforded him.  Thus, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the judgment.