Thursday, August 11, 2011

No Lengthening of Sentence to Complete Treatment Program

In United States v. Walker, 09-6498, published today, the Sixth Circuit held that the district court improperly increased Darrell Walker's sentence and remanded for resentencing. The district judge handed down an above-guidelines sentence in part because of Walker's need for rehabilitation and psychiatric treatment. Walker had twenty-nine prior convictions -- twenty-seven of which were drug-related -- and a history of mental illness.

The Sixth Circuit noted that the Supreme Court clarified in June that "a court may not impose or lengthen a prison sentence to enable an offender to complete a treatment program or otherwise promote rehabilitation." Tapia v. United States, No. 10-5400, 2011 WL 2369395, at *9 (June 16, 2011). Accordingly, the Court found Walker's sentence substantively unreasonable.

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