United States of America, Appellee, v. Christopher H. Monfort, Defendant-Appellant.

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United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

United States of America, Appellee, v. Christopher H. Monfort, Defendant-Appellant.


Decided: May 24, 2016

PRESENT: AMALYA L. KEARSE, DENNIS JACOBS, BARRINGTON D. PARKER, Circuit Judges. FOR APPELLANT: MARYBETH COVERT, Federal Public Defender's Office, Western District of New York, Buffalo, New York. FOR APPELLEE: MONICA J. RICHARDSforWilliam J. Hochul, Jr., United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, Buffalo, New York.


Christopher Monfort appeals from the order of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York (Siragusa, J.), denying his motion for a sentence reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). We assume the parties' familiarity with the underlying facts, the procedural history, and the issues presented for review.

Monfort argues that vacatur and remand are required because the district court failed to offer an explanation for the denial of his motion. Monfort relies on United States v. Christie, 736 F.3d 191, 195 (2d Cir. 2013), which vacated and remanded because: “While the form used by the district court in this case provides space for an explanation of the decision, the district court did not utilize that space, and no other oral or written explanation was given.” Here too, the district court checked a box to deny Monfort's motion without providing any rationale for its decision.

The government cites the following passage from Christie: “The failure to state reasons will not always require a remand. In some situations, such a failure may be harmless, because ․ the reasons for the district court's actions may be obvious from the history of the case.” Id. at 196.

The district court was undoubtedly familiar with Monfort's case, and did emphasize several times how a joint sentencing proceeding worked to Monfort's benefit. But, absent further explanation, we cannot say that this observation necessarily animated the district court's decision to deny Monfort's § 3582 motion; such a conclusion is not “obvious” based on the record before us. Id.

We therefore REMAND for the district court to make findings as to why it denied Monfort's § 3582 motion.

The mandate shall issue forthwith. Upon the conclusion of the renewed district court proceedings, either party may restore jurisdiction to this Court by filing with the Clerk of the Court of Appeals, within 30 days, a letter (along with a copy of the relevant supplemental order or transcript) advising the Clerk that jurisdiction should be restored. No new notice of appeal or additional filing fee will be required.