Attorney Penix Wins Sixth Circuit Appeal on Abduction Enhancement

The United States Sentencing Guidelines use a point system to determine the sentencing range for federal convictions. These points can aggravate (increase) a sentence or mitigate (decrease) a sentence. Acceptance of responsibility, for instance, results in a several point reduction of the offense level, which means a lower sentencing range for the judge to consider. But compare how U.S.S.G. §2B3.1(b)(4)(A) provides a multi-level enhancement if “any person was abducted to facilitate commission of the offense,” and substantially increases a defendant’s exposure at sentencing.

An abduction under §2B3.1(b)(4)(A) doesn’t necessarily mean there was a kidnapping crime charged or involved. Depending on the court and facts, “abducted” might mean the defendant or his co-defendant moved a bystander across a parking lot, or put a clerk in a locked room at the rear of a store.

In a recent Sixth Circuit case, Attorney K.L. Penix successfully argued that an abduction enhancement under U.S.S.G. §2B3.1(b)(4)(A) had been improperly applied during sentencing proceedings, resulting in a four-level enhancement and a 27-month increase in sentence. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Attorney Penix that the district court erred in applying the enhancement under the facts of the case. As Attorney Penix had requested for the defendant, the Sixth Circuit vacated the judgment and remanded the case for resentencing.

To speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your appeal, contact the Alderman Law Firm today for a free consultation.

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