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Sentencing Authority Challenged: Robinson

Sentencing authority challenged when confusion arose for Robinson's sentence running concurrently with sentences from two other cases.

The Sentencing Dilemma

In the complex world of federal criminal defense, a recent case in the Fifth Circuit has brought to light the critical importance of understanding the authority behind sentencing decisions. Robinson, charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and obstruction of justice, found himself in a predicament during sentencing that led to a subsequent reversal of the ruling.

The Sentencing Process Unveiled

Robinson's sentencing on July 21, 2022, took an unexpected turn. The judge imposed 120 months for each count, intending them to run consecutively, totaling 240 months. However, the confusion arose when the court stated that Robinson's sentence should run concurrently with sentences from two other cases, including a previous federal drug-trafficking conviction and a state case.

Unraveling the Legal Tangle

The legal intricacies came to light during the proceedings when it was pointed out that Judge Milazzo's order conflicted with the oral directive from Judge Fallon. The state court judge had ordered the sentences to run consecutively, while Judge Fallon intended them to run concurrently. The appellate court, considering 18 USC 3584(a), emphasized that one district court cannot dictate to another how to structure its sentence for a different offense in a different case.

The Reversal and Its Implications

The Fifth Circuit, upon careful consideration, found that Judge Milazzo's order was beyond her authority, and the initial misapprehension resulted in an incorrect sentence. The appellate court reversed the district court's ruling, highlighting the misinterpretation that led to an additional twenty-seven months of federal prison time for Robinson.

Legal Clarity Moving Forward

In light of Robinson's case, the Fifth Circuit has sent a strong message about the necessity of understanding sentencing authority. This reversal emphasizes the importance of avoiding misinterpretations that can significantly impact a defendant's prison term. As the case heads back to the district court, the determination of whether the sentence should run consecutively or concurrently will be revisited.


If anything here applies to you, contact us today.

At The Law Office of Jeremy Gordon, we fight aggressively for our clients. We are experienced, and know what it takes to present a successful defense in a federal criminal case. For prompt, courteous and skilled representation as your federal criminal defense attorney, contact us today to schedule a free phone consultation.
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