Supreme Court Widens Sentencing Courts Discretion on Remand

Pepper v. United States, No. 09-6822 (March 2, 2011)

In an opinion filed yesterday, the Supreme Court held that upon the resentencing of a defendant in federal court, the sentencing court may–and should–take into account the defendant’s post-sentence rehabilitation.  Prior to this ruling, there was confusion among federal courts as to the types of considerations that are relevant for a court to take into account on resentencing.  This opinion will not impact many offenders, but will serve to assist those defendants fortunate enough to have their sentences vacated and remanded on appeal, and who have made strides at self-betterment since their original sentence.  Of course, as is noted by the Court, a court on resentencing is not limited to only consider the positive post-sentencing conduct of the defendant, but also the negative.  The opinion is available here.