U.S.A v. Justin K. Dorvee: Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Decision

On October 1, 2009 I posted an appalant brief for U.S.A v. Justin K. Dorvee on this blog. The Brief was prepared by Paul F. Angioletti, attorney for the defendant-appellant.

Mr. Angioletti has now informed me that the Court of Appeals Second Circuit issued an opinion on the Dorvee appeal on May 11, 2010. In this posting we are including a paragraph from the Second Circuit decision which summarizes the conclusion that the sentence imposed on Dorvee by the District Court was “substantively unreasonable”, therefore vacating the judgment and remanding the case to the District Court for resentencing.;


Justin K. Dorvee pled guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(2)(A). He was sentenced by the United States District Court for the
Northern District of New York (McAvoy, J.) to the statutory maximum of 240 months, less 194 days for time served for a related state sentence. He challenges both the procedural and substantive reasonableness of his sentence. Our review of the record indicates that the district court may have improperly calculated Dorvee’s Guidelines range which, we conclude, constitutes procedural error. We also conclude that the sentence imposed on Dorvee is substantively unreasonable. We therefore vacate the judgment and remand to the district court for resentencing.


I recently received an e-mail from Mr. Angioletti which included some brief comments about this case. He also expresses appreciation regarding the legal research facilities and staff at the New York Supreme Court Criminal Term (New York County) Law Library. We are certainly pleased that he found the library facilities helpful and the service supportive. Here is an excerpt:

Dear Mr. Badertscher:

Last year you posted the brief in United States v. Dorvee on the library blog. The case was assigned to me under the Criminal Justice Act by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. On May 11, the Second Circuit issued an opinion vacating my client’s sentence as unreasonable, and remanding the case for resentence. The case has gotten a lot of national attention, because it is one of the few cases to find a within-guidelines sentence substantively unreasonable.

The brief involved a lot of fairly sophisticated research, including legislative history. All of the research was conducted on the 17th floor library, both electronically through Lexis, and the old-fashioned way– with the books….

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