The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in United States v. Vigil on Tuesday, October 2, 2012.
Denise Vigil was originally sentenced to three years probation with conditions. Her probation was revoked and she was given supervised release after serving some jail time. She violated her supervised release conditions and was eventually sentenced to twelve months in prison, half the maximum allowable sentence of two years under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(3). Vigil argued the sentence was unreasonable. The Tenth Circuit applied substantive reasonableness review and affirmed the sentence. In sentencing an individual for violation of supervised release conditions, the judge “must consider the factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) and the policy statements in Chapter 7 of the Sentencing Guidelines.” The policy statements are advisory, however, not mandatory. Vigil’s argument that her repeated violations were not severe or exceptional was unavailing as that is not required for an upward variance from the sentencing guidelines.