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Appellant United States of America (the "Government") appeals from a judgment of conviction and sentence for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base entered in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (Hurd, J.) against defendant-appellee Carol Dominguez ("Dominguez") insofar as the sentence of 464 days reflects a departure of approximately 93% from the statutory minimum sentence of 240 months. The District Court determined that the Government's motion for a downward departure based on Dominguez' assistance to the Government enabled it to exercise discretion, apparently informed by a variety of specified and unspecified factors, to impose a sentence it deemed "fair and reasonable under the circumstances."

On appeal, the Government contends that the starting point for a reduced sentence is the statutory minimum sentence, that the only factors to be considered in this case are those relating to Dominguez' cooperation, that the District Court erred in failing to put forth sufficient reasons to justify the departure, and that the extent of the departure was unreasonable in any event. Dominguez responds that the District Court did use the statutory minimum as a point of departure, properly considered sentencing factors other than cooperation, imposed a reasonable non-Guidelines sentence, and adequately stated its reasons for imposing the sentence. For the reasons given below, we vacate, remand, and articulate the appropriate methodology to be employed in resentencing Dominguez.


521 F.3d 149 (2008)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellant, v. Kasha RICHARDSON, Defendant, Carol Dominguez, Defendant-Appellee.

Docket No. 05-7005-cr. United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

Argued: June 22, 2007. Decided: February 15, 2008. Amended: March 20, 2008.

New York Law School location: File #3600, Box #151