The Supreme Court held that Fed. R.Crim. P. 32(h), which requires a sentencing court to give the parties advance notice that it is contemplating a departure from the Guidelines, does not require the court to give notice of a contemplated variance from a recommended Guideline range.
The Court explained that Rule 32(h) was premised on protecting a defendant’s expectation that his sentence would be within the applicable Guideline range. This expectation did not survive Booker, and the parties therefore did not have the kind of "expectancy" that required notice. Further, the Rule itself referred to "departures" not "variances."
The Court added that district judges should consider granting a continuance of the sentencing when a party has a legitimate basis for claiming that it was illegitimately surprised by a contemplated variance.
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