Sample Sentencing Memos
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 1/24/06 Drug offense: Defendant's limited role.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 2/8/06 Identity theft: Offense was an isolated one out of character for the defendant and committed during a time in which he was suffering financially and emotionally. The memo makes reference to and relies upon letters written by family members and friends. Includes mention of a psychological exam in which the psychologist found the defendant suffered from depression.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 10/6/06 Child pornography: Defendant's age (79), poor health, psychology exam that found defendant at a low risk for committing a sexual offense, a productive life that included military service during war. Cites United States v. Hunt, 459 F.3d 1180 (11th Cir. 2006).
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 12/5/06 Drug offense: Crack/powder cocaine disparity. Because of a mandatory minimum sentence, the memo asks only for a sentence at the bottom of the Guidelines range.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 2/9/07 Drug Offense: Defendant, a relatively minor participant in the conspiracy, is slated to receive a much greater sentence than major participants who received or are receiving a 5K1.1 motion. He's also a Career Offender whose prior offenses, despite generating 18 criminal history points, are minor. The memo argues for a below-Guidelines sentence so as to establish parity with sentences for codefendants and in recognition that the Career Offender classification overstates his prior criminal activity.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 3/29/07 Drug Offense: Defendant's post-arrest rehabilitation and limited role. Includes abbreviated crack/powder claim, reference to reduced recidivism for older defendants, and reference to the disparity in drug sentencing between North Florida and the rest of the nation. 
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 4/16/07

(updated)

 Immigration Offense (unlawful reentry): Defendant's drug trafficking offense that leads to a 16 level increase of the offense level occurred years ago and was a minor incident. Additionally, even though the 11th Circuit has held to the contrary, a lesser sentence is justified to avoid the unwarranted disparity created by the sentencing scheme in "fast-track" districts.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 9/13/07 Child Pornography: The memo incorporates a psychological report finding the defendant to be in a low risk category , cites United States v. Rita, cites to some recent child pornography cases, and discusses recidivism. While noting Rita's recognition that the Guidelines do not carry any presumption of correctness in the trial court, the memo raises the issue as to whether the validity of the sentence should be measured in any way by the Guidelines. It's the issue the Supreme Court will be confronting this term in Gall v. United States.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 10/9/07 Perjury and Obstruction of Justice: The memo incorporates the two pending Supreme Court cases, Gall and Kimbrough, makes use of a psychological report setting out the defendant's low IQ, and quotes from several letters written by those who have favorable opinions of the defendant. The memo includes mention of the sentencing statistics here in North Florida and even mentions the case against Scooter Libby.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 11/14/07 Career Offender. Memo includes citations to cases that support the proposition that the career offender guideline call for ranges greater than necessary to fulfill the goals of sentencing. There is a discussion, too, about how career-offender sentences sometimes do little to reduce crime, can result in disproportionate sentences, and unfairly results in longer sentences for African-Americans. There is also mention of drug addiction as a consideration, of the need to avoid only unwarranted disparity, and of the long drug sentences in the Northern District of Florida that are twice the national average.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 1/17/08  Embezzlement. Asks the Court to consider that the defendant is the mother of a young child. The memo includes citation to studies showing the sort of hardship suffered by children when their mothers go to prison.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 3/10/08 Cultivation of marijuana. Memo includes references to Kimbrough, Gall, the 2007 statistics showing how harsh sentences are in North Florida for drug trafficking offenses, and a discussion about uniformity in sentencing. Mitigating circumstances include the defendant's age (58), the fact that he was only helping a friend grow the marijuana, and the fact that a 9-year-old misdemeanor VOP warrant excluded the defendant from the benefits of the Safety Valve.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 10/14/08
Solicitation of a minor for sexual activity (18 U.S.C. §2422(b)). The memo challenges the validity of the guideline, explaining that in promulgating it, the Sentencing Commission failed to rely upon "empirical data and national experience" as that shortcoming is discussed in Kimbrough v. United States," 128 S. Ct. 558 (2007). There is an argument, too, that the court should consider that, as in most of these cases, there is no real victim and that it makes little sense to sentence the defendant just as harshly as if there had been a real victim. The argument includes mention that the sentencing range has quadrupled in just five years. The memo cites the reduced risk of recidivism that can reasonably be expected given the nature of the offense and the defendant's age. There is also a discussion of the role the defendant's Bipolar Disorder played in the offense.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 12/11/08

The case involves an unusual offense, essentially, that of an illegal immigrant's obstruction of the Government's effort to remove him. Nonetheless, the guideline applicable to the offense is USSG 2L1.1, the one applicable to unlawful reentry. The argument is that the guideline is not the product of empirical data and national experience, and that like the crack cocaine guideline, it cannot be assumed that following the guideline will result in a sentence that fulfills the goals of sentencing.

Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 11/19/09

Unlawful reentry with the 16-level increase for a crime of violence. Argument is that the defendant should receive a below-guidelines sentence because of : (1) Sentencing Commission's failure to adhere to its institutional role in establishing the 16-level increase; (2) the disparity created by the lower sentences in Fast-Track Districts; and (3) the disparity created by the charge-bargaining that occurs in many districts.

Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 02/19/10

Argues that drug sales were largely the product of the defendant's drug addiction and that his addiction is a mitigating circumstance that justified a below-guidelines sentence.

Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 04/13/10

Argues that past sexual abuse of the defendant and resulting mental health problems justifies a below-guidelines sentence

Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 07/01/10 Child Pornography. Cites most recent criticism of the child pornography guideline and argues that the defendant should receive a below-guidelines sentence because the guideline fails to distinguish between run-of-the-mill cases such as his and those of more serious offenders.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 07/01/10

Argues for a below-guidelines sentence citing defendant's young age (19) and his good employment history.

Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 10/18/10

Single mother of three young children who had no criminal history was facing six to seven years for helping boyfriend in a marijuana conspiracy case. Argues for a below-guideline sentence because she was led into the offense by her boyfriend and because of her responsibilities for her children.

Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 10/18/10 Defendant played a limited role in the theft offense, but his offense level was inflated due to the loss amount generated by the conduct of the codefendant. The memo argues that the defendant should receive a below-guidelines sentence or a reduction for minor role because the loss overstates his responsibility.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 5/11/11

Career Offender. Argues that defendant should receive a below-guidelines sentence because the predicate offenses are old and involved small amounts of drugs. Goes on to say that the career offender guideline has little deterrent effect when applied to low-level drug sellers, often results in harsh sentences that are disproportionate to the offense, and unfairly produces long sentences for African-Americans.

Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 6/10/11

Unlawful reentry case. Includes argument for a below-guidelines sentence based on cultural assimilation, the disparity created by the lower sentences in fast-track districts, and the disparity created by the charge-bargaining that occurs in many districts. Based on the proposed amendments to the guidelines, asks judge not to impose supervised release. There are 2 exhibits attached to the end of the document.

Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 5/24/12

(Updated 6/21/13) Sale of a Firearm to an Out-Of-State Resident. Argues for a below-guideline sentence on the basis of: the 67-year-old defendant's military service in Viet Nam, his health problems, his good character, his reduced chance of recidivism, and because the Guidelines range overstates the seriousness of the offense.

Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 5/24/12

Mentally retarded defendant who sold an unusually small quantity of crack cocaine.

Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 2/6/13

Career Offender. Relies on criticism of career offender guideline from Iowa District Judge Mark Bennett. Argues that the guideline produces sentences that are greater than necessary because it fails to consider the nature of the defendant's offense and because of the "double counting" that often happens in drug cases.

Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 5/21/13 Career Offender. Relies on criticism of the career offender guideline from Iowa District Judge Mark Bennett.
Adobe AcrobatWordPerfect MS Word 7/23/13 Child pornography. Includes mention of Judge Rodgers' testimony before the Sentencing Commission and the report issued earlier this year by the Sentencing Commission.
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 11/19/13 Mentally ill career offender who sold small quantity of crack cocaine. Relies upon United States District Court Judge Myron H. Thompson's observations about mental illness in the decision of United States v. Ferguson, 942 F.Supp.2d 1186 (M.D.Ala. 2013), includes critique of the career offender guidelines, and concludes with some of Attorney General Holder's remarks to the American Bar Association that include his observation  "that too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason."
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word Revised 2/7/2014 Middle-aged woman with no prior criminal history who used her employer's credit card to make personal purchases. Primary mitigating circumstance is the restitution that was made long before she was indicted. Memo includes mention of her role as a parent, her good reputation in the community, reduced likelihood of recidivism, and her health problems. 
Adobe Acrobat WordPerfect MS Word 4/21/2016 NewDefendant was facing an increase in his offense level pursuant to guideline applicable to firearm offenses,  USSG 2K2.1(a)(4), for having a prior "crime of violence." The predicate was a Florida conviction for burglary. The memo, while recognizing 11th Circuit precedent, argues that the burglary is not  a crime of violence. It goes on to argue that even if it is, the Court should use the amended version of the Guidelines that excludes burglaries from the definition of "crime of violence." 

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