Downward Departure in Sentencing Under Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Defendant with Diminished Mental Capacity Prohibited When Possibility Exists That Defendant May Discontinue Medication

United States v. Riggs, 370 F.3d 382 (4th Cir. 2004)

Under the federal sentencing guidelines as they currently exist, a federal judge can reduce a sentence below the applicable guideline range "if the defendant committed the offense while suffering from a significantly reduced mental capacity."   However, this reduction may not occur if (1) the reduced mental capacity was caused by the voluntary use of drugs or other intoxicants, (2) "the facts and circumstances of the defendant's offense indicate a need to protect the public because the offense involved actual violence," or (3) the defendant's criminal history indicates a need to incarcerate the defendant to protect the public...

Found in DMHL Volume 24 Issue 1