Published on: Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Kansas woman pleads guilty without plea agreement to her charge. District court, in deciding what sentence to impose, states when there is no plea agreement, the sentence will be somewhere in the middle of the Guidelines range. Woman: objection! That is not a valid basis. District court: Objection overruled. Here's a sentence above the low-end of the Guidelines range based on my practice. Circuit Court: Not good. “To penalize a defendant based on the absence of a plea agreement alone is arbitrary.” This court "custom" does nothing to advance "permissible aims of sentencing." New sentencing ordered.

The case is United States v. Cozad, No. 20-3233 (10th Cir. Jan. 3, 2022).