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Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: District Courts May Consider Nonassistance Factors in Awarding a Sentence Reduction

The defendant, Tadio, threatened a witness scheduled to testify in the federal murder prosecution of some of his associates. Tadio subsequently pled guilty to one count of witness intimidation. Facing a 10-year sentence, Tadio decided to assist the feds in prosecuting his former associates.

At sentencing, the government filed a Rule 35(b) motion, asking the District Court to reduce Tadio’s sentence by 24 months. Fed. R. Crim. P.35(b)(2)(B) Tadio proposed a 48 month reduction arguing 24 months did not reflect the significance of his assistance and the danger it put him in. Tadio also pointed out that other defendants who helped take down his former associates “received far greater reductions in their sentences even though their testimonies were not as valuable.”

The District Court agreed with the government and reduced Tadio’s sentence by 24 months. In determining the reduction, the District Court considered Tadio’s criminal conduct and prior criminal history. Tadio appealed arguing that his prior criminal history was a nonassistance factor, and should have no bearing on his sentence reduction.

“District Courts are in conflict on the role non-assistance factors have in determining any Rule 35(b) sentence reduction,” said Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Andre Lagomarsino. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with those courts that allowed a court to consider a full range of nonassistance factors, including a defendant’s prior criminal history. 18 U.S.C. ยง 3553(a)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s decision to award a sentence reduction of 24 months and denied Tadio’s motion to increase his sentence reduction to 48 months.

The Las Vegas law office of Lagomarsino Law did not represent anyone involved in the above-referenced case. The commentary is for educational and commentary purposes only. If you would like to be represented by a Nevada attorney, contact our office for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400.