Roy Perry was sentenced to 151 months for receipt of child pornography. At sentencing, the court stated “I’m probably going to give him a Guideline sentence because it would be really an act of, I don’t know what you call it, defiance, maybe not, to give him a variant sentence.” The Court also stated that a variance be fair under 18 U.S.C. 3553, but “given the case law and the Sentencing Guidelines, I have to sentence him to the low end of the Guidelines of 151-months.”
The Fourth Circuit reversed and remanded for resentencing, holding that the district judge had impermissibly treated the Guidelines as binding. “Taken together, the district court’s statement that it had to sentence Perry to a Guidelines sentence, its suggestion that it might be defiant if it did otherwise, and its indication that a variant sentence was warranted based on the 3553(a) factors, support Perry’s view that the district court accorded too much weight to the Guidelines.” United States v. Perry, No. 15-4260 (Mem) (4th Cir. 2017).