Friday, December 19, 2014

Eighth Circuit Reverses Obstruction of Justice Adjustment

Although the Sentencing Guidelines provide for a two-level upward adjustment for obstruction of justice, USSG § 3C1.1, it is important to remember that not all lies to authorities subjects a defendant to this adjustment.  Recently the Eighth Circuit reversed an obstruction adjustment where the government provided absolutely no evidence that lies during a proffer session “significantly obstructed or impeded the official investigation or prosecution of the instant offense.”  3C1.1, Appl. Note 4(g).  In rejecting the government’s argument that the adjustment was supported by the prosecutor’s statement to the sentencing court that the defendant’s lies had caused the government to “waste[] time [and] resources,” the Court noted that “[t]he prosecutor’s statement to the court was not evidence.”  The Court found the two-level adjustment to be clear error and remanded for further proceedings.  United States v. Adejumo,2014 WL 6653283 (8th Cir., Nov. 25, 2014).

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