United States Third Circuit

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US v. Merced, 09-1844

District court's imposition of a five-year sentence for a drug possession conviction is vacated and remanded where: 1) the district court may have sentenced defendant pursuant to a personal policy disagreement with the scope of the career offender provision of the guidelines, and if variance was granted on such grounds, the court must clearly explain whether defendant it is based on a policy disagreement with section 4B1.1 and if so, the court must justify that decision as required by precedents; and 2) district court failed to analyze a highly relevant sentencing factor, section 3553(a)(6), as the court's choice of sentence may have created a risk of unwarranted disparities between defendant and similarly situated recidivist crack cocaine dealers.

Appellate Information

  • Argued 03/08/2010
  • Decided 04/20/2010
  • Published 04/20/2010


  • Before AMBRO, SMITH, and MICHEL, Circuit Judges.


  • United States Third Circuit


  • For Appellant:
  • John F. Romano, (argued), George S. Leone, Office of United States Attorney, Newark, NJ, for Appellant.

  • For Appellees:
  • Louise Arkel, (argued), David A. Holman, Office of Federal Public Defender, Newark, NJ, for Appellee.
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