Fifth Circuit - Sentencing Procedure

United States v. Khan, 997 F.3d 242 (5th Cir. 2021). A 168-month downward departure was substantively unreasonable in a terrorism case. The court gave short shrift to the seriousness of the offense.

United States v. Hudgens, 4 F.4th 352 (5th Cir. 2021). In a drug distribution case, an upward variance from a range of 97 to 121 months’ imprisonment to 240 months’ imprisonment was not substantively unreasonable. While the government could not prove the “but-for causation” required for the enhanced penalty, nothing prohibited the court from considering that the defendant’s girlfriend died after ingesting drugs the defendant gave her.

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