Publication Date


Document Type

Survey Article


In 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit continued its efforts to untangle the complex web of laws known as the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The year saw a number of precedential decisions interpreting its provisions, including those governing specific offenses such as drug trafficking and fraud, as well as those setting forth the proper methodology for establishing a defendant's criminal history.

This Survey identifies and summarizes the important holdings from these decisions. Section II begins with the decisions reviewing an application of the Guidelines provisions for specific offenses, and the different enhancements available for certain classes of crimes. Section III then focuses on the general adjustments that apply irrespective of the specific offense type, such as those based on a defendant's role in an offense or the number of victims in an offense. Finally, Section IV addresses cases involving the proper determination of a defendant's criminal history category. As our justice system continues striving for fairness in sentencing, it is important to take note of the changes in the Guidelines, which, though advisory, are at minimum a crucial starting point for judges endeavoring to impose just sentences.