Rita was convicted in federal district court of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements. The district court sentenced him to thirty-three months in prison; Rita appealed the reasonableness of the sentence, arguing that the district court should have considered statutory mitigating factors and thereby reduced his sentence.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the sentence. After the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Booker, a sentencing court is no longer bound to give a sentence within the range prescribed by the federal sentencing guidelines. The Fourth Circuit noted that Rita's sentence was within the statutory range, and therefore presumptively reasonable. It also noted that the district court considered the factors in section 3553(a), even if it did not explicitly analyze the factors.
1) Was the district court's choice of within-guidelines sentence reasonable?
2) In making that determination, is it consistent with United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), to accord a presumption of reasonableness to within-guidelines sentences?
3) If so, can that presumption justify a sentence imposed without an explicit analysis by the district court of the 18 U.S.C. sec. 3553(a) factors and any other factors that might justify a lesser sentence?