Reasonableness on Appeal

A Federal Criminal Sentence Can Get Appealed For Reasonableness. There are two kinds of Reasonableness, Procedural and Substantive.

Procedural Reasonableness

Procedural Unreasonableness, among other things, is a challenge to a defendant’s legal eligibility for a sentencing departure. Procedural reasonableness is an inquiry into whether the “trial court follow[ed]proper procedures and gives adequate consideration to [the § 3553(a)] and other listed factors[.]”

Substantive Unreasonableness is a question of whether a sentence is “greater than necessary.” Even if the court followed the proper procedures, the case can still be substantively unreasonable if the district court imposed a sentence that is “greater than necessary.”

Inquiries in the Substantive Reasonabless review are:

  • The ‘extent of the deviation from the guidelines range
  • Whether “make sure that ‘the justification is sufficiently compelling to support the degree of” divergence
  • How compelling the justification is based on factors in section 3553(a) must be
  • Imposing a sentence of arbitrary length is substantively unreasonable