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Felon with firearm gets new sentencing

A Richmond federal judge didn’t follow a stair-step approach in sentencing a felon with a firearm, so the defendant gets a second shot at sentencing.

Earlier this week, the 4th Circuit released an unpublished opinion in U.S. v. Tinsley, vacating the statutory maximum sentence of 10 years that Zachary Tinsley got for the .25 caliber pistol found in his glove compartment.

Even assuming that Tinsley should been assigned a criminal history score of category VI, the appellate court said, “the district court’s failure to move incrementally down the sentencing table and to explain why the intervening offense levels did not yield a sufficient sentence” supported Tinsley’s claim that U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson did not adequately explain the sentence.

Tinsley’s 10-year sentence was nearly three times the high-end of his advisory sentencing range, the 4th Circuit panel said in a per curiam opinion. The judge’s reference to Tinsley’s “terrible” criminal record – including five prior firearms convictions – did little to distinguish him from the run-of-the-mill category VI offender.

Saying it needed a better explanation in order to perform the necessary post-Booker reasonableness review, the court remanded for “a more rigorous sentencing analysis.”

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