U.S. v. Reiche

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 12-05-2022
  • Case #: 21-30275
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lee, J. for the Court; Christen, J.; Forrest, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

"A defendant is aware of the risk created by her conduct when she knows facts which, if considered and weighed in a reasonable manner, indicate a substantial and unjustifiable risk . . . , and the defendant knew of that risk.” United States v. Rodriguez, 880 F.3d 1151, 1162 (9th Cir. 2018).

Petitioner was convicted of "Violence Against Railroad Carriers" under 18 U.S.C. § 1992(a)(5), after she placed a shunt on a railroad track in order to stop a train. At sentencing, the District Court found there was clear and convincing evidence Petitioner was aware of the dangers of placing a shunt on the track and the court did not find Petitioner’s remorse convincing to grant a downward adjustment of her sentence. The District Court sentenced Petitioner to twelve months and a day in prison with a three year supervised release. Petitioner appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the district court abused its discretion. The Court of Appeals held that the District Court did not abuse discretion in applying a sentence enhancement. The Court of Appeals reasoned that a reasonable person would understand that Petitioner’s action of forcing a train to suddenly stop was obviously dangerous and Petitioner had also researched how to illegally stop trains. The Court also held that the District Court did not err in denying a downward sentence adjustment for accepting responsibility, reasoning that the District Court had discretion to apply the downward sentence adjustment and was free to chose not to apply it since Petitioner was not remorseful until after a guilty verdict was entered. AFFIRM.

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