Skip to main content
A Better Partnership
October 28, 2015

COA articulates standard for “reasonableness” of a departure from the sentencing guidelines in post-Lockridge world

For the first time since People v. Lockridge, the Michigan Court of Appeals has articulated a standard for analyzing the reasonableness of a sentence when it departs from the defendant’s advisory sentencing guideline range.  In People v. Steanhouse, No. 318329, the Court held that trial courts should employ the “principle of proportionality” test articulated in People v. Milbourn.  Under this test, sentences must be proportionate to the seriousness of the circumstances surrounding the offense and the offender.  If the sentence fulfills this principle of proportionality, it is reasonable.  In Milbourn, the Michigan Supreme Court recognized that departures from the guidelines are appropriate where the guidelines do not adequately account for important factors legitimately considered at sentencing.  The Court further stated that even where some departure appears to be appropriate, the extent of the departure (rather than the fact of the departure itself) may embody a violation of the principle of proportionality.  In deciding on the “principle of proportionality” test, the Court of Appeals rejected the abuse of discretion standard of review used by federal courts, because, unlike the federal system, Michigan courts are not procedurally bound to apply the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors.   Defendant’s case was remanded in order for the trial court to determine whether defendant’s 30 to 60 year sentence was reasonable under the “principle of proportionality” test.

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.



+ -