Martindale-Hubbell 2024 - Badge
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - Badge
U.S. District Court / District of Massachusetts - Badge
Harvard Law School - Badge
Best Law Firms / U.S. News - Badge
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly - Badge
Super Lawyers - Badge

The Role of a Sentencing Error

Martin G. Weinberg, Attorney At Law Team

Criminal laws set forth a range of penalties for each criminal conviction, such as incarceration, probation, fines, and other forms of punishment. Although courts generally have wide discretion when sentencing a convicted defendant, if a judge makes sentencing errors, the defendant has grounds on which to file an appeal.

A sentencing appeal allows a higher federal court to review the lower court’s proceedings and determine if a specific error occurred or if the judge made an unreasonable sentence. If the higher court rules in favor of the defendant (or appellant), then he/she will be given a reduced sentence or perhaps a new trial.

The following are common sentencing errors committed by courts:

  • The judge applies the incorrect sentencing factors
  • The judge applies the incorrect penalty provisions
  • The judge did not consider mitigating (favorable) factors
  • The judge determines a sentence based on factual mistakes
  • The judge’s sentence deviates from the normal sentence in similar cases

However, it is not uncommon for a federal judge to “depart” from federal sentencing guidelines when imposing harsher sentences than the guideline range for the offense. Only if an appeals court finds that the judge abused his/her discretion or imposed a sentence higher than the maximum set by law, then the sentence will be reversed.

By contrast, a judge may refuse to a “downward” departure from federal guidelines, meaning that he/she will not issue a lower sentence than the guidelines. If a judge wrongly presumed that he/she did not have the discretion to depart from the guidelines, the appeals court will review the sentence.

If you or a loved one has received a harsh sentence following trial and interested in filing an appeal, contact Martin G. Weinberg, Attorney at Law today at 617-227-3700 to get more than 40 years of federal appeals experience on your side.

Highly Revered & Recommended

Marty is a lawyer’s lawyer – an unparalleled legal technician with a philosopher’s vision. Marty sees the nuances in the shadows in the edges of the furthest reaches of the law and brings it all back to first principles and fundamental values.

NACDL Past President Martín Sabelli

Some lawyers have been gifted with extraordinary intellects, others prodigious trial skills, and still others a relentless work ethic. Marty has the rare combination of all three, and that is what truly sets him apart within the defense bar.

Robert M. Goldstein

Marty is the go-to lawyer for those with complex legal and trial issues – there is no one better. Most importantly, he is an all-around terrific person.

NACDL Past President Gerald Lefcourt

Whether it was his surgical cross-examination of co-defendant-turned cooperating-witness Joseph Lally or his home run closing argument, the Boston lawyer established that the evidence against Vitale simply was not there.

David Frank, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

God forbid I ever have a problem, he’d be my lawyer.

David Chesnoff

Contact Us

Fill out the contact form or call us at 617-227-3700 to schedule your free consultation.

  • Phone Icon Free Consultation
  • Gavel Icon High-Level Litigator
  • Experience Icon Decades of Experience

Free Consultation 617-227-3700